A friend inspired this post with her attempt to use Parnell Station recently. I received a phone call from her, saying she was late to a meeting because she had tried to catch the train from her workplace in Parnell.

The story she told was one of great frustration:

1. She had trouble finding the station, taking a wrong turn down the back streets and having to double back & search for the way down the hill.

2. Next, she arrived at the platform, but couldn’t find the way to the other side to catch the train, and eventually found out you have to walk hundreds of metres up the gully to a culvert that lets you pass under the tracks, only to walk back down the other side. 

3. Then while she was trying to complete her expedition up Mt Everest Parnell Station the train came and went. 

4. She stands in the scant shelter at the wrong end of the platform trying to hide from the rain with little people about. No matter she thinks, I’ll get the next one. But as next trains the Western & Onehunga express through, her frustration continues to build.

She later says to me, huffing that she should have just caught the bus as usual, but she asks “what the hell went wrong with Parnell Station?” Why is it so hard to get to, how come it’s so hard to get to the platform, why don’t the trains stop there?”

The answer to those questions have a long & tortuous history. You see originally Parnell station was supposed to be somewhere else. The powers at the time realised there was a great opportunity for a very useful station in the area. The rail owner at the time, Ontrack, the train operator and the Council all agreed that the Parnell station should be down the lower end of Parnell, near the rail bridge over Carlaw Park Avenue. They discussed whether it should be the cheaper option just back from there on the solid ground, or if it should be a more expensive version build the bridge itself.

Parnell Station Options

Either way, this was seen as an ideal location: On one side you had the new Carlaw Park development of offices and apartments, straight ahead you had the university, with tens of thousands of visitors a day, and Beach Road leading off to Quay Park and the Arena. To the other side you had Parnell itself, with close access to the dense cluster of jobs and apartments at the northern end, and lastly behind you was the Domain and the gully up toward Newmarket. In short, close to everywhere, and just minutes walk from connecting to the Link buses to boot. The planning work, the catchment analysis, the operations team all agreed, this was the best location, right in the middle of a range of busy and important destinations.

So what happened? Political interference. A politician decided that, against the advice of his own staff and the railways, that the station should be shifted almost half a kilometre away up the Parnell Gully. This was reported well at the time by Joel Cayford as well as Greater Auckland.

Parnell Options Summary

This one decision sealed the fate of Parnell Station to forever be an also-ran. This decision moved the station 400m further away from Carlaw Park, 400m further away from the University, further away from Beach Road, Quay Park, and further away from the part of Parnell that most Parnellites actually live and work in. It pushed the station into a gully where a full half of the catchment is a bush covered corner of the Domain, a place where a few hardy joggers visit during the day and nobody visits at night. This location moved the station away from any possible connecting buses, locating it down steep narrow alleys where buses cannot go even if you did want to put them through the tortuous diversion. To top it all off, this moved Parnell Station into a location that doesn’t even serve Parnell well. As my friend found out, the station will always be out of the way down the hill, tucked away via a warren of dog-leg back alleys. It’s hard to find, physically hard to walk to & a little scary with so little people around especially in the rain/dark. Indeed in this location, the only way the elderly or less abled could ever use the station would be by being driven down there in a car.

However, that’s not all. The downward spiral continued. The government saw the likely failure and declined to contribute funding and spent its money on other transport priorities. Unlike most projects they didn’t chip in 50% of the funding for example as they did for Otahuhu Interchange. The local government then had to pick up the full tab, which in effect cost ratepayers twice as much as it should. But likewise, the city had difficulty prioritising a lame duck over other more worthy stations/infrastructure and elected to only build the bare minimum. Then Auckland Transport and the rail operator declined to stop all the trains there, assessing the limited patronage gains and benefits to not be worth the impacts on the timetable, fleet utilisation and operating performance.

This left the city with a much delayed, half built, underfunded yet expensive station, located in the wrong place and served by only a third of the trains that pass through it. Not surprisingly, Parnell Station is currently duking it out for last place on the list of worst used stations Auckland. To be fair it is early days yet, and time will tell if this inner city station can ever pull itself out of last place.

 

So how could this happen? What could possibly possess someone to take a perfectly located station concept and, against all advice, move it out of the way, away from everything it might have been used for? The answer is unfortunately very simple: Disneyland.

“Disneyland Transit” is a term used in the transport industry to describe public transport that is built for image reasons. It is transit developed, not to actually move people, ease traffic or enable urban growth, but to create the right look and feel for passers-by. Like the fake old-timey steam trains of Disneyland’s equally fake Main Street USA, or the monorail of Tomorrowland that whizzes people around in a circle back to where they came from, Disneyland Transit is built in real cities by people who don’t want actual transport but want transport themed window dressing.

The best example of this in Auckland is the Wynyard tram, a tiny one-way loop tram that circles a few blocks of the waterfront in a couple of minutes. It is by all measures entirely useless for transport purposes, it is there simply to look the part, because waterfronts need trams, right? In this case, I don’t actually have a problem with a little Disneyland on the wharf. The tram is small, cheap to build and run, and doesn’t interfere with any real transit. It’s a bit of fun for the kids on a day out, a horizontal Ferris wheel with no pretensions of doing anything other than providing a few minutes of joy. That’s fine, but Parnell is a different story. Parnell is or rather should have been, a very significant part of the regional rapid transit system. It’s a stop on three of the four rail lines, in a general area thick with transport demand, people and traffic. This is not the place for Disneyland, but Disneyland we got.

You see the location of Parnell station was driven by a number of goals, none of which were actually about building an effective transit system. One of these goals was to create a themed historical destination by the old Parnell railway workshops, the main driver to shift the station platforms alongside. At the time a group of locals talked of a community centre and performing arts space in the old tin sheds. Unfortunately, nobody checked in with the people that actually owned the buildings, which have since been demolished to build a gated retirement community. A related goal was to provide a home for the old antique Newmarket station building, a wooden shed shifted from Newmarket when that station was rebuilt into a proper transit hub. It was decided that this building should be rehomed in Parnell, to create some sort of pseudo-authentic historical train station in a place where a train station has never been, and where no evidence of train activity remains.

A third goal was the idea that the grand old Museum building deserved a matching grand old train station, despite the fact that even the relocated station site is still very far from the Museum itself. Even the most cursory site visit reveals how poorly a Parnell Station would ever serve the Museum, between the two stand a great wooded hill and the expanse of the Domain. Walking from one to the other requires not only the best part of a kilometre hike through the bush paths and the roads of the Domain, but a vertical climb of over 50 metres, that’s the same as walking to the top of a 15 storey office block. Clearly impractical, this is pure Disneyland, transit for image, rather than transport.

Parnell Station Catchment Options

So the mess we have is the result of political meddling, wilfully disregarding any actual transport considerations to try and create a heritage theme in the back of Parnell gully. Because of the lack of fundamental accessibility and connections, it is hard to see Parnell Station ever doing particularly much of anything on the rapid transit system.

It was amateur hour plain & simple.  

Is all lost? Well perhaps not. Clearly, they need to provide a better link between the two sides of the station & tie into Carlaw Park to allow people to walk through to Stanley Street and the University. A better path up to Parnell Road would also help, but it’s hard to see quite how that could happen given the indirect nature of the street network and the steep hill. But the question is, after getting the fundamentals so wrong, can much be done to try and fix it? Or is it now an eternal case of good money after bad? Do we just accept Parnell Station was done for all the wrong reasons, write it off as a failure, and move on to bigger and better things especially with so many other stations needing funding to expand coverage such as Greenlane Southern Access, Sylvia Park Eastern Access as well as better access to Northern Busway Stations?

I get the feeling that twenty years down the track we will come back and shift the station to the right place like we did with Grafton Station. In that case moving it a few hundred metres from an out of the way corner under the motorway to a central spot close to the hospital and new university campus has caused it to skyrocket in usage, going from a whistle stop used only by a few high schoolers to one of the busiest stations in the region.

But for now, I don’t have much hope. The amount of money that has been sunk into putting Parnell Station in the wrong place ensures that nothing much different will be done anytime soon.

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143 comments

  1. My experience: I tried to use it once. I walked through Carlaw Park on the assumption it would be roughly behind the student village. It wasn’t. I was in a suit and wearing work shoes on the way to a film in Newmarket and Parnell Rise was backed up.

    The signposted pathway did not exist – it was a mud bath. I finally arrived, shoes covered in mud and having almost fallen over a couple of times trying to navigate something that wouldn’t pass as a DOC track. In the end, the trains I wanted didn’t stop there for another two hours because….well I’m not sure why.

    Parnell Station is the Chris Christie’s bridge of New Zealand and I’m not sure why there isn’t a bigger shouting match about it. The lack of lighting on the pathway alone between the student village is hugely dangerous.

    I fear the only answer for Auckland is to go full Goon Show and tear it down and rebuild it in the proper location. Otherwise what was the point?

    1. “go full Goon Show and tear it down and rebuild it in the proper location” – Hell yes.

      I was working in Stanley St when it was being built. We would look out at the construction and wonder where the path to the student village was going to be, whether they were going to turn the car park into a platform, etc. As the station building progressed, we all lost hope of it ever being useful. The argument that the diesel trains would find the grade difficult sounded like excuse finding to justify some other imperative, especially since the electrics were already being prepped or rolling out (memory fails me there).

      Build a new station, basic steel and plastic shelter (as in Ellerslie) and add a simple bridge between platforms. Worry about moving the “station building” later, same goes for the Domain connection.

      The construction of the platform should be fairly cheap – They used pre-fab hollow concrete boxes, which they then filled with concrete. KiwiRail own most (if not all) of the land required. Perhaps this is an example of a case where a PPP may actually be useful (naming rights perhaps?).

    1. The links to the old Greater Auckland post as well as a post on another website by Joel Cayford give a little bit more information of the decision at the time.

      1. Seems like 2010/11 and even give or take 5 years that was recent. I was hoping to assign blame pre-2003 and my arrival. Auckland is in the main a lovely city but it sure seems to have been blighted by a century of poor transport planning. But just because previous generations lacked foresight doesn’t mean we have to. Keep on posting.

  2. Back in the 80s, the railway tunnels near there used to have glow-worms in them, which was cool. A mini Waitomo, without the long trek south. Not too many trains back then though. Anyone know if the glow-worms are still there today?

    1. Don’t know about glow-worms, but back in 2013 the Waitematā Local Board was interested in shedding some light in the disused half of the Parnell tunnels, by creating a walking and biking greenway through there: https://www.bikeauckland.org.nz/parnell-rail-tunnel-to-go-greenway/.

      The most recent comment on that story is a couple of years ago from Christopher Dempsey, confirming the project was still in the works and hadn’t died a death.

      It’d be nice to know if it’s still in play in 2017.

      Hopefully the retirement development beside the station won’t make this a non-starter – in fact, if both can be accommodated it would be amazing for more active retirees to have a safe and scenic path to and from Newmarket by bike.

      1. There are glowworms in the Domain, along the stream by lovers lane. They can survive in caves and under rocks basically anywhere there is flowing water and airflow.

  3. I have yet to use the new Parnell station but as always I’ve struggled to understand how it gets any patronage at all with the unfriendly platform design and the lack of services. Seems like it rushed through.

    1. In the 1930s. There is a plan to open it up again for pedestrians and cyclists, but it’s not a cheap proposition.

      1. The double-track tunnel replaced the single-track one on 1 June 1915, completing the doubling of the Auckland-Newmarket section of what was then the NIMT.

        In the mid 1990s the single-track tunnel was reused for a temporary electricity supply from Penrose to the CBD after the main power supply failed.

        1. Yes but the single track tunnel was still used as a siding for some time. It wasn’t closed until just before WWII. Interestingly during WWII it was provisioned as an air raid shelter, but never used of course.

          Also used during the electrification project for site access.

      2. There’s an idea floating around to convert it to a cycleway tunnel, but it’s a long, long way from being a plan.

  4. Here’s my experience with the Parnell station… I work in one of the only offices along Cheshire St, the closest street to the station. Most of the buildings along the street are apartments, although there are several offices and a few more on Falcon St, the next street up (after that is Parnell Rd).

    One of our approx 22 staff catches the train every day; a couple of others have tried it once or twice but gone back to their previous way of getting to work.

    I’ve caught the train twice, once southbound to a meeting in Greenlane (this worked really well), and once northbound to Britomart (this didn’t). The northbound platforms are a much longer walk, about 300 metres, and like Harriet’s friend I ended up missing the train. It wasn’t a biggie, this was during ‘peak hours’ so the service is every 10 minutes, but it would have been much easier to just catch a Link bus, which is what I’ll do from now on.

    I imagine very few people would use this service to get from Parnell to Britomart, but of course for people doing return journeys to Parnell they’ll end up using those northbound platforms for one of the two trips, and they really are a hassle. But I do understand that for the tiny number of people using the station, it’s not worth the expense of building a bridge over (and over the power lines), that money is better spent elsewhere on the network. No use throwing good money after bad…

    1. There is pterfectly good footbridge almost completely unused at Glen Eden station. Parnell would be an excellent new home for it and maybe someone could get crowd funding underway to install lifts with the footbridge and get the crossing part covered.
      Such a move would be a record, same station, GE, having two FBs relocated

      1. I agree that the Glen Eden footbridge isn’t getting much traffic, but I’d rather they put steps in on the West Coast Road side near the base of the footbridge which would immediately make it more useful and attractive – rather than cart it off to Parnell for the benefit of nobody much at the moment.

    2. So in essence without spending any more money to make this thing work, it was a total waste of money that will largely be disused and I should imagine, see the old Newmarket Station also become target to vandalism.

      But since ratepayers have paid good money, why not connect it properly to the outside world, from all angles and have all trains stop at it? Because that beats the above alternative.

      1. Lots of other stations need upgrading and access improvements its a question of if Parnell should sit above them.

    1. I hope the person, architect, planner, or whatever, who designed the 100metre walk to the underpass as the only way to change platforms, has been fired, sacked, demoted, transferred to be a traffic warden or forced to emigrate to Oz

      1. It’s the person that delayed the overbridge that you have an issue with, which I assume is still to come…although money isn’t free so I guess someone decided that wasn’t the best use of ratepayers money.

        1. I would have hoped that the person who put the station where it is has had those things done to them. Unfortunately they’ve kept their job!

  5. The obvious fix is a funicular, have a look at Istanbul to see how those vertical trams make a difference. At least people could get to Parnell Road with breath and dignity. Other than that, how does something like this happen? Is this politician untouchable? Is he like the rest of them in only desiring to make more work for his successors? The positioning of this station is ludicrous, especially when we had the option of an on bridge station. Istanbul has an on bridge station, possible completely useless as well but damn it is cool. If we are to continue to build white elephants at least make them hipster friendly so they can find new uses. So yes, press undo, move it to the useful location, and write it off as giving too much power to one misguided individual. And don’t let that guy make anymore important decisions!

    1. Not untouchable anymore bit of a lame duck now burnt to many bridges over the years. Also the politician is no longer chairperson committee of infrastructure at AC merged with Planning Committee and is no longer on the AT board.

    2. I think a funicular would count as good money after bad. It certainly wouldn’t be cheap to dig out a cable car tunnel under those buildings! Just sorting out a clear and legible pathway for pedestrians would help, but not sure if even that is possible.

  6. I’ve never used Parnell Station but I have been inconvenienced by it several times. To make up for lost time added to stop at Parnell they’ve added an ‘express’ service on the inner section of the Southern / Onehunga Lines, which basically means cutting frequencies from 10 minutes to 20 minutes on many stations. I’m not a fan of cutting service to add a station in a difficult-to-serve location.

    1. I don’t think Parnell has anything to do with the Onehunga trains running express. This was done to allow a EMU to be turned around in one hour, which wasn’t possible with the old timetable, which meant the service tied up three EMUs. Now it is just two which has freed up one to be used as a 6-car set on another line.

      1. Fair call.

        I can see the rationale for doing that during the peak, but why carry on the service pattern to the inter-peak when it means a service cut for Greenlane and Remuera stations even in the absence of the need to save trains?

        1. Onehunga runs a flat timetable. So with the third train required for all stops, it’s still 50% more fleet and staff to run almost the same service. But I guess you could argue that it’s worth one more train in circulation across the day to give high frequency service from Penrose to Britomart.

        2. TBH they should be able to turn around an EMU within an hour off peak even with stops at Greenlane and Remuera. They had no trouble doing this with the DMUs and the early EMUs using the pre-Dec 2014 timetable. It is only after this that the Onehunga service required three EMUs.

  7. Isn’t the best fix to convert that bush into high density apartments and offices? Of course I’m being totally sarcastic. But, it looks like demolishment of Unitec’s well-used community garden and amazing organic forest garden sanctuary will go ahead, without requiring anyone to replace that Education-zoned land with some new inner city Education-zoned land. So I’m surprised someone hasn’t mooted the idea.

    Actually, what about an inner city school on some of that bush next to the current station? (I’ll get whipped for this one.)

  8. After reading this I want to weep and rend my garments.

    I spent months thinking how convenient it would be to walk down from the university to this station in the evenings, and expected it might cut a good 10 minutes off the trip home.

    My experiences of trying to find an entrance on either side seem to have been the same as everyone else’s, and, although I am a traditionally built gentleman, nothing would induce me to walk through the Domain bush at night.

    Given the proximity of student housing it would seem the most logical thing in the world to have an entrance from Carlaw Park, but I take it from this that one doesn’t exist.

    What an epic cock-up. Thanks for giving it some publicity.

  9. To add to the list of ridiculous failures, Bike Auckland several times before construction tried to liase with AT to discuss how the connections and the underpass could be improved for bikes and the already planned Greenways network.

    We never got a meeting until after all decisions had been made – but the managers claimed we’d been involved…!

    Reading all this, it’s clear we were just yet another group of people whose input was not deemed important…

  10. I have used the station a few times and it is wholly unsuitable to commuters – trying to navigate a poorly signposted and steep track really does not cut it. The other time I have tried to use it was a few weeks ago when I traveled to Hamilton by train so considered catching a Western Line to Parnell (it was a Saturday) but when I realized I would have to lug my bag up a near vertical hill and still be miles from the station, I realized it was easier and quicker to just catch the train directly to Britomart and walk along Custom Street. This whole thing stinks of a Mike Lee vanity project and like his absurd grandstanding over rail to the airport, demonstrates that he is remarkably stubborn and cannot see logical answers when he considers there are problems. In my view, it is usually not a good idea to put a train station in the middle of a gully and the Parnell Train Station is testament to that.

  11. I think all is not lost, sure it’s worse for University access, but if you look at the table it has better access to the town centre. Come CRL Aotea will give you University access. Really it’s just not finished off, needed a ped overbridge, improved way finding, improved park paths & security & access through the Carlaw Park Student Village. Let’s get over that it’s the 300m too far up the hill. Of course it’s a failure so far, it seems to have been abandoned by all interested parties.

    1. I’m not sure it does have better access to the town centre. Maybe closer as the crow flies, but have a go at walking up there some time, it’s not a direct or easy route on the streets.

      A station with an entrance to Heather street would have served the town centre better, thats relatively flat, direct and open. Plus the town centre is really just a shopping strip. The bulk of the jobs and homes are actually in a cluster over by York Street.

    1. If the footpath is less than 150m, presumably it will be from the northern end of the Domain platform to Nicholls Ln in Carlaw Park. If so, that will give reasonably direct and level access to Stanley St and The Strand. An underpass to connect it to the other platform would solve many of the access issues.
      https://goo.gl/maps/uLyDv8QUTZm

    2. I reviewed several resource consents for the Carlaw Park student village back in 2012 and there very much was a requirement for pedestrian rights of way thru it to the Station once the Station opened but owing to boundary quirks the pedestrian link from the village to the Station falls on both Domain land and Kiwirail corridor and it all hit some red brick funding / bureaucracy walls. Fingers crossed that a mix of that plus post CRL mix will ensure some form of station in that patch succeeds

      1. So was someone spineless? Or was the process unable to allow anyone to overcome quirks of boundaries? A requirement for pedestrian rights doesn’t just go away. RC can be denied until a solution is found. Or are we in a situation where pedestrian rights just tumble like a house of cards as soon as they make the development tricky? I’d love to hear your experience.

        1. Costs and process were main issues that now appear to getting resolved with tendering of contracts for pedestrian connections The student village was very much designed for having public thru link to station and that link being public, only once station was open and link to student village was created. Conditions of original consent required this.
          Between student village and line itself, the link falls on kiwirail land (and can be considered under Kiwirails designation), but a large bit in middle sits on Domain land and under Parks mgmt. Wasn’t good breeding ground for joined up thinking or seamless PM, but looks like finally some progress, hopefully including overhead gantry links.

  12. I wish I had known about this during the election. I might have asked Mike Lee some pointed questions at the candidates debates.

  13. Very interesting read.
    I haven’t used that station and had no idea how badly located it was!
    I suppose one possible “solution” would be to build an elevated pedestrian bridge linking Parnell to the Domain (with a proper path at each end) this could then drop down to both platforms below. Would improve access immensely, would improve platform access immensely too (trying to change platforms), and would also improve Domain access. Cost? not sure would be similar to the overpasses used on the NEX.

    Perhaps all new PT infrastructure investments over $5m should be required to be run past GA in future to stop these cock-ups from occurring.
    One example I am thinking of is that they will probably be looking to build a station at the Strand in future to service that area – so would be good if GA had an input into where exactly it would best be located.

    1. Interesting idea, but tricky to see where it would go on the Parnell side because of all the buildings and dog leg streets.

      Having a quick look, one option would be to redevelop number 14 Heather St (I assume this will be demo’d for apartments sooner or later) as a station entrance, with an 80m long bridge out the back leading to the platform lifts. Could continue to the other side too, but you end up only halfway up the hill in the bush still. I suppose a new path with lighting and stuff could fix that, although they are a bit precious about developing the Domain at all.

      1. Working with a developer to integrate in a entrance to a new building 14-18 Heather street is the solution I think. Bridge right over to northbound platform.

  14. Maybe some sort of escalator from the station to Parnell town, and definitely decent access to Nichols lane etc might help. Forget about the uni if aotea is closer.

    1. I completely agree. The way the NZ left (central and local) has gone all anti-immigrant in the last few years is very disheartening.

  15. Thanks Harriet for the forensic detail. You diplomatically did not mention that Mike Lee was the Councillor. Why is he still on Council? What does he hope to achieve? This is transport planning vandalism.

    I wonder if this is only incompetence. That Parnel website looks slick and funded by a business group. So did local vested interests ask Lee to get the station shifted out of their way?

    1. Two related reasons, we don’t have STV and he was up against Bill Ralston. It was a case of which dead rat looked slightly tastier.

  16. In the very least have access from and to Carlaw Park Ave both sides.

    And have trains stopping at Parnell would really make sense and I can’t believe that this has to be suggested!

    Otherwise this thing is a dog.

    1. AT plan to stop Western but only after they remove Newmarket level crossing. If you want to have an ironic guess on who supported the residents in opposing the AT removal of that level crossing in the courts.

  17. Yes I used the station and this station is indeed not very user friendly at all.

    To cross to the other side of platform there is a unnecessary long walk.

    Also the access is very steep and people using it would be physically exhausted.

    The link to the station is uninviting. It is hard to find the access from parnell road. It is also blocked off to carlaw apartments.

    Finally the train frequency is so low that makes it inconvenient compare to bus.

    To sum it up, the access to the station is poorly designed, coupled with poor frequency.

    What should be done to fix it is:

    Build a direct arcade/lane/allay that connect from parnell road straight to the train station. For example they can go though espesso workshop and go though the main building.

    Example would be like takapuna’s bird on wire/burger burger laneway.

    It also need a lift to the station so that it levels between parnell road and the station.

    Also it needs to build a cross to the other side of platform near the centre so people don’t need to walk hundreds metres.

    Then it needs to build direct access to carlaw apartments with better lit, flat and safe walk ways.

    Finally frequency needs to be improved by having different lines of trains stop.

    1. It’s going cost no matter what to make this work but lifts or lightly graded ramps at the city end to an elevated walkway over the tracks to Cheshire St is another solution to getting rid of the climb out of the gully.

      Doing nothing is not an option.

      1. Doing nothing is never a good option the question is with many stations both train & busway needing funding to improve access where does Parnell sit on the priority list.

          1. Yes exactly, a budget interium version was created anyway just to get a station of sorts after lack of funds etc https://at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/train-station-improvements/parnell-station/ See note on Stage 2 at the bottom, Stage 1 is not even complete. See http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/aboutcouncil/committees/aucklanddomainrailcorridordesignationcommittee/meetings/aucklanddomainrailcorridordesignationcomminatt20130705.pdf for earlier design ideas.

    2. Yes that Espresso Workshop is only a short building, rip it out and we have a laneway quite close to Tilden St which is right on a pedestrian crossing.

  18. Mike helped create the transport revelution in Auckland. He may have a few issues on a few details like this.. Easily fixed really. Actaully lets be real honets and develop some of the domain. Its bigger than we need and we have plenty of parks. ;-D

    1. Yes I was going to say, with all the Mike Lee bashing, from what I’ve read (as was before my interest in city planning/this blog came about), that Mike was instrumental in getting our rail system up and going? Yes too much historic emphasis etc but perhaps without him we would still be running diesels to crappy old stations?

      1. I don’t think anyone doubts the important role Mike Lee has played, the issue is he believes himself almost a hero & as such accepts no criticism as valid.

        We all should take criticism seriously it allows us to either strengthen our opinions with stronger evidence or when wrong the courage to admit so and change to meet the new evidence. Its human to make mistakes, we all do and its part of any great process.

        Its important to learn from these mistakes so we don’t repeat them. Its not the person who makes mistakes that is bad, its the person who refuses to learn from them.

        1. Exactly Harriet. Last time I had the temerity to exercise my democratic rights and write a post highlighting issues with Mike’s policies he attacked me on his FB page.

          Mike has done great things for public transport in Auckland, that is true. He’s also rather rude, and doesn’t take well to criticism.

  19. Parnell’s actually not that bad if you want to go to OGGB and, by some reasoning, anywhere that takes less time to walk to on campus from OGGB than the train takes to get to Britomart from Parnell. There is a bit of a hill, but this is true however you want to catch a train to Auckland’s city campus (unless you’re prepared to walk from Grafton along Symonds St which is downhill or something more convoluted involving buses).

    What you do is you turn right into the Domain from the platform, take the right path into the Bush (not the stairs) and then you take a left turn at the intersection where turning right takes you into a clearing they recently did some work on. Once you have done that, you just keep going straight ahead until you’re on the path associated with Lower Domain Drive. There are some other routes that involve short cuts through the bush but I don’t know them. There is a similar route that goes via Carlaw Park too, but I have decided that one is inferior.

    I have walked this way at night (with a torch), early in the morning and at most other times of the day going to uni. I try to avoid Parnell if it’s raining but I’ve done that too and it’s okay. I very rarely catch the train from Parnell. It is not as convenient because you have to walk all the way along the other side and, in my case, I then have to double back on some of that walk too to get to where I sit in the train. I would rather spend a bit longer in the train from Britomart and get more work done or walk to Newmarket and have a proper walk (I do the former more frequently).

    I am not convinced that the station is a complete waste of space, but I do think it suffers from access issues. One relatively simple fix would be to build a path direct to Carlaw and, from reading this post, it could also be worth extending paths along to where the station’s bridge location would have had access points (the near ones). Advertise it as everyday fitness and you’re good to go.

  20. Yes I think it may have been a conspiracy to get Uni students some good exercise, they generally are young and able to do so, good before sitting in lectures. 😉

  21. What a “cock a hoop” posting. Using the pretend “friend” story to justify a spiteful article is amusing indeed. The author could have used her inside contacts at Auckland Transport to ask them why they haven’t finished the connections to the station to make it more connected? What was her reason for not contacting AT? Why not contact Pippa Coom who opened the station? After all she’s the Chair of the Local Board and could have provided more information about the dragged out construction of connecting pathways. Why not hassle AT about lack of trains stopping at the station? After all, EMU’s were supposed to be faster than the old diesels so should have been able to accommodate a stop at Parnell station.

    1. Hello Jon

      What is incorrect about this article, is the fact the station was moved from a better position for political not evidential reasons incorrect?

    2. “to ask them why they haven’t finished the connections to the station to make it more connected?”

      That’s obvious; it’s a terrible use of money and the NZTA wouldn’t go near it so AT only had half the budget. All because the station is in the wrong place, and all because of your friend, the councilor.

      1. Yes first I’ve heard that phrase before:
        “cock-a-hoop
        adjective
        adjective: cock-a-hoop; adjective: cocka-hoop
        extremely and obviously pleased, especially about an achievement.
        “the team is cock-a-hoop at winning its first game of the season”
        Origin

        mid 17th century: from the phrase set cock a hoop, of unknown origin, apparently denoting the action of turning on the tap and allowing liquor to flow (prior to a drinking session).”

    3. I personally sensed a lot of disappointment at what could have been if the station had been located in a better place, however clearly you have managed to see ‘cock a hoop’ somewhere in here.

  22. Wow, that’s quite an attack on the man who is responsible for delivering more rail projects in Auckland than anyone else in it’s history. The man for whom without, you would not be riding trains at all in Auckland in 2017. What brought this on?

    You forgot to mention the powers that be didn’t actually want a Parnell station at all. Option 1 as you put it, was never going to happen. You also forgot to mention the Wynyard tram was supposed to be extended to Britomart, and that it’s the current powers to be who are responsible for that not happening.

    But let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good lie.

    1. Not sure his previous record is of any relevance to was Parnell built in the wrong place.

      It either is, or it isn’t & this can be demonstrated empirically?

      1. Hahaha joke of the week “Harriets friend”… Just a pathetic attack on a man who delivered so much for Auckland public transport.

        Perhaps “Harriets friend” could also recount how good it is to be able to travel on a train to visit shops in Onehunga or Sylvia Park? Or the joys of using electric trains at all? No, “Harriets friend” only focuses on things Harriet hates. Coincidence?

        Still laughing at this rather pathetic attack piece. I am confident we’ll see more of these from this blog before the election, like we saw in the local body elections last year. Why not team up with Whale Oil?

        1. Re-read the article. Harriet never actually mentioned Mike Lee by name. Rather, she focused on the pros and cons of the various station location options, and the ill effects of the decision that was ultimately made. (Against advice, apparently.) That’s, like, the exact opposite of an attack piece.

          If anyone’s engaging in ad-hominem attack politics of the Whale Oil variety, it’s you. You prefer baseless personal attacks to engaging with the facts.

        2. Jon, you’re projecting I fear. Perhaps you are a conniving and politically motivated in everything you do, and you expect others to act the same way? You think Harriet is going to make a surprise run for a seat in the house?! Laying the groundwork for a coup?

          And really, insisting that she can’t have actually spoken with someone who had a bad experience at a train station. That it must be some sort of fabrication? We’ll again it sounds like projection, coming from someone notorious for inventing fake identities to comment on websites and write letters to the editor!

          You must realise that most people don’t care for politics, let alone want to be a politician. To try and frame this as some sort of attack against… what exactly, your party aspirations? That’s sounding pretty paranoid.

    2. Well according to the post, what brought this on is Harriet’s friend having a terrible experience with a train station built in the wrong place and griping to Harriet about it.

    3. He’s a paid elected representative, he should be open to criticism of is rubbish decision as much as accolades for his good decisions. Unfortunately most of his good decisions happened last decade or earlier, while most of his rubbish decisions have happened more recently.

    4. I think many passengers on Southern Line trains would prefer there was no Parnell station than one where it is now. It is an extra stop for a tiny number of passengers to get on and off, even the poorly accessible Greenlane has quite a few more.

    5. “You forgot to mention the powers that be didn’t actually want a Parnell station at all. ”

      I honestly think that would have been a better outcome. Millions of dollars that we could have spent on station upgrades around the network instead of spending it on a station in the wrong place that will cost tens of millions more to fix.

      Mike has been a great advocate for rail. Unfortunately for all of us, in this case, he has let his love of rail for heritage ruin rail for transport for everyone.

    6. It’s true that we shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

      However, I would also argue that spending money on public transport infrastructure or services that don’t make a useful contribution to the network is a bad thing. In the short run, inefficient spending crowds out other, more useful projects. For instance, the $10-15m cost of the Parnell Station could have been put towards a bus interchange at Te Atatu, which is a key missing bit of the West Auckland bus network.

      In the long run, wasteful projects diminish public support for public transport. If people see their money going towards stations that aren’t used and services that run empty, they won’t vote to allocate more money for PT. And so we get less PT than we need.

      Of course, far-sighted politicians or advocates are often able to identify good ideas that might not pop up on the bureaucratic radar. That’s the value in a representative democracy with a strong civil society.

      Mike Lee was such a politician for most of his career. He did push forward a lot of good ideas, against skepticism and opposition. That’s why it’s genuinely saddening to see him diminishing his legacy with projects like this. The revitalisation of public transport in Auckland is now happening. Lee could easily step back from Council and take a role as ‘elder statesman’ of public transport in Auckland – pushing along the vision (and taking credit for successes) rather than getting embroiled in every silly battle over details.

      1. And, oh yeah, although $10-15 million is a drop in the bucket of the city’s transport budget, it’s more money than most people see in their entire lifetime. This is a lot of money in everyday terms.

        I think it’s essential – a moral responsibility, even – that our elected representatives make wise use of the resources that they are entrusted with. If they can’t get a good project through, they shouldn’t spend money on a bad project instead!

        1. Parnell station $20 million. Otahuhu station $30million, Penrose station, Puhinui station, are all very user unfriendly with long climbing walks.
          I support underpasses where possible which are easy for young and old, cyclists, and parents with prams.

    7. Yes, Mike Lee does deserve credit for his persistent advocacy of public transport and his role in ensuring that modern electric traction was brought to Auckland.

      BUT, and it’s a big but, he is in my view well past it, and his current campaign re the Airport Line seems mired in self-aggrandisement and frustration that his political legacy (the renewal of the Onehunga Line and its extension to the airport) seems to have been overtaken by rational analysis favouring light rail. He remains lost somewhere back in the days of the “old left” where the philosophy was that “if you don’t agree with me then you must be one of the enemy”. This attitude is really counterproductive and makes consensus and even rational discussion impossible. It is completely unsurprising that central government found him impossible to deal with when he was Chair of the ARC. I’d go further, and suggest that his chairmanship of the ARC was the main reason why an expanded role for the ARC, taking transport and some other functions off the other seven TLAs, was not seriously considered as an option in the 2010 local government reorganisation in Auckland.

      He’s also what I would call a “knee-jerk” politician, and it doesn’t surprise me in the least to read here that he backed the Cowie Street residents in their efforts to promote an inferior, silly and expensive alternative to the overbridge that is now finally going ahead

      History will show that his legacy is very mixed. Quite apart from Parnell Station and Cowie Street, think the Wynyard tram, for example. What was he thinking? What was anyone thinking?

      Having said that, I too voted for him the last elections. It was really a question of which dead rat was preferable to swallow – as someone else also suggested.

  23. KiwiRail even went to the length of re-profiling the trackbed for several hundred metres in order to ease the gradient through the station (and steepen it further up). That’s a lot of sunk cost and effort if the station really is no use where it is!

    Good exposé Harriet.

  24. Thanks for the back story, I had always thought a parnell/domain/uni station had merit and that this was a step in the right direction, but seems we wound up with something of a dud.

    Here’s hoping we don’t end up with a similar story in regard to the Victoria St linear park…

  25. The essential issue here is governance. On one hand we have a politician free AT displaying a tin ear to the wishes of the council in regard to the Victoria St. Linear Park then we have politicians on the AT board directing sub optimal results as shown by Parnell. (Fletcher and Lee were AT directors up until last election.)
    How to get this right?

    1. Actually the root of the problem may be similar for both & that is AT cowering to what they define as key stakeholders against the provided evidence.

      1. Victoria Linear Park – Wellesey St was the preferred bus option of many studies on the issue, the only reason this switched is the Universities lobbied. They were caught out and now can’t use Victoria.

      2. Parnell where Mike Lee & Parnell groups lobbied for this location for disneyland reasons like a heritage train area instead of building based on the data which suggested low catchment & large issues with it.

      In both cases AT placated interest groups in direct contravention with their own reports & advice.

  26. This remains my preferred vision for what Parnell should have been. Bridge extending over from Heather St. Old Newmarket Station building could have gone on that now bluff which is now used just for a carpark. Would have been perfect with a little cafe there and rest of site as a bit of a public square and then access down to Carlaw Park development. Maybe we can fix it after the CRL is open which would allow us to close the tracks for a month or so to regrade them again

    1. Yes this is such a better location. It’s a shame that the idea of this being a Museum Station muddied the waters (an appealing idea though), because while the current location is clearly closer to the Museum it still too far away, and across steep and difficult country (even with improvements) that it’s pretty clear that destination will never be a meaningful source of ridership.

      Clearly it would have been better to focus on the University and immediate dwellings and employment.

      1. A proper bus stop up on Parnell Rd, with a flat walk to the Museum, is a far more logical way of getting to the Museum.

        1. Thing is the Muesum is standing separate at the top of a hill surrounded by Park, and because of this will always be able to be better served by bus than train, unless the later is some new tunnelled route with a Museum station. Parnell, even with new paths, will be still only be a little more the Museum Station than Grafton or even Newmarket. It is chasing a chimera, no matter how attractive is the idea of joining the two public goods; train and mueseum.

          1. Also doesn’t matter how good the PT connections are, the paths in the domain are rubbish, it really does sum up Auckland perfectly, the domain that is hard to walk through!

          2. I would argue that, for able bodied adults, the museum is already served reasonably well by the Park Road buses, Newmarket Station, and Grafton Station this could be improved further by improved bus stops on Parnell Road. The challenge now is to give sufficient access to people who are not able bodied, children, and the elderly. Improving the walking route including safer crossing points, adequate footpath width, wayfinding, and CPTED would help for some people. However, a short bus route from Newmarket Station to Aotea Station via Broadway, mansull Street, the Museum Circuit, Lower Domain Drive, and Wellsley Street would capture transfers from almost every major transport route. (NEX all isthmus bus routes, NW busway/light rail, existing train network from all 3 directions). Additionally this provides a direct route between the two major central museums.

          3. Sailor Boy, yes. It has always bothered me that the roads through the domain are open to drivers, who treat it as a part of their commute, but that there are no buses on those roads to take you to the museum. Many times on rainy days I’ve thought it would be good to take the kids to the museum but coming from west, we’d have to take the outer link all the way to the east side and still walk in the rain and mud. We even caught the tourist bus from Motat once but it was expensive and one of the directions took forever.

  27. For those who are always inventing corruption (for entertainment?), here is some actual corruption to be angry about!

  28. I appreciate there are a lot of outstanding issues with Parnell Station that need to be resolved but I think this version of events is very misleading. I’d suggest talking to people involved with the planning for the station and the reasons why the location was selected. For example I understand the bridge location preferred by GA was rejected due to a range of issues and cost. At the opening I acknowledged Cr Mike Lee who fought long and hard for Parnell Station and the many other people who supported the Waipapa Valley location.
    http://www.pippacoom.co.nz/news/opening-the-new-parnell-train-station/.

    Just to note some of what needs to happen before Parnell Station works properly: Connection to Carlaw Park/Nicholls Lane (path funded by the Local Board due to start in this month), Somerset development (also likely to result in an underpass connecting the platforms), wayfinding and improved connections to Parnell Road, opening of the old Parnell tunnell (Local Board greenways project), connection to the Museum (only 500m away once path upgraded) and full services once the Cowie Street bridge opens (works starting early next year).

    Hardly Disneyland

    1. It will be slightly more than 500m and will still be over difficult ground. After New Network rolls out the Domain bus would be superior for access as well.

      It was not just the bridge option but also the Carlow Park location, all the reports demonstrate the catchment & development potential of both these options was far superior to the Cheshire site.

      The Cheshire Street option was not selected based on catchment data, development potential or accessibility. It was picked for image reasons such as a faux heritage railway area hence Disneyland transport this should be scrutinised.

      1. There wouldn’t be a Parnell Station at all without Cr Lee’s determination to see it opened but it is completely incorrect to claim that he (the “one politician”) was solely responsible for making the decision on the location against advice. It is really unfortunate that this post has led to a completely unwarranted attack on Mike. I really think it needs to be updated with the facts about why the location was chosen (there were a lot of factors including cost) and how the station is going to be enhanced so it operates effectively.

        1. Pippa, I tend to disagree with you here on the grounds that it is sometimes worth waiting to do something right, rather than rushing ahead with something half-baked. As it stands Parnell probably increases travel-times on rail because everyone travelling from south/west now has an extra minute on their journeys because of Parnell. Moral of the story: Don’t add stations to the middle of your rail network unless they generate shedloads of patronage. Which Parnell doesn’t. Hence we (being PT users in Auckland and ratepayers) would probably be better off without it.

          1. Hi Stu. I don’t read this post as arguing for no station at all. Harriet is claiming that for “Disneyland” reasons the station is in the wrong place and that one politician made the call. This is just not correct. It is not how transport decision making happens in Auckland (you may disagree with the decision but it would have gone through the AT Board that tends to make decisions by consensus). Lots of people/groups advocated for the Waipapa Valley location but it was landed on based on objective criteria and cost.
            This post has highlighted issues that definitely need to be resolved with the station but at the expense of some key facts. I think an apology and a correction is needed.

          2. Just as it wasn’t Mike’s sole decision to fund regional park purchases and rail improvements last decade but he rightfully gets a lot of credit for it as the driving force.

            As a paid elected representative he should be accountable for driving projects that are clear to any user of the rail network worse than doing nothing.

            No amount of lipstick is going to improve this pig of a station.

          3. Hi Pippa,

            Apologies for the confusion.

            Yes, I’m suggesting no station might have been better than the station we have. I’m also saying that patience is a virtue and that rushing into a transport investment as AT did here at the behest of Mr X now leaves us in a worse position than we might have been if we’d simply waited.

            As for what we do now I’m not sure …

            Pour in more money to make it “work”? Close it down? Or do nothing, save our pennies, and can build a new (new) Parnell Station in the right location? So many options, so little money. As I’m sure you’re aware! At this stage my intuition is to do nothing until post-CRL and then reasses.

            Although the story of political meddling needs to be told, as Harriet has done here. This should serve to highlight for our local politicians and AT staff about what their respective roles should be in the broader decision-makking process. Politicians should generally focus on transport strategy, and try and leave the details up to independent technical experts. And vice versa for AT.

            Of course politicians should be free to question technical findings publicly, but they should not be able to trump such expertise, at least not unilaterally. Which from Harriet’s and Joel’s research seems to be the case here?

            Doesn’t worry me too much either way, just seems like we wasted $20 million. And I remember when spending $10 million on bus lanes on Dominion Rd was hardd to come by …

            Best,
            Stuart

          4. @jezza @stu Yes you both have opinions on the location of the station or whether there even should be one in Parnell. In my view it is in the right spot. The GA post also gives an opinion about the merits of the station but dressed up as if it is a piece of accurate reporting. It is not correct to claim there is a story about “political meddling”. GA has misrepresented the decision making process.

  29. Has anyone heard of the planned bus shelters for the Takanini Station?
    where could we find details of what the program is?

  30. I prefer the station where it is. It just needs a bit of time for connections and developments to be built. More of a build it and they will come approach but i think it will be fine.

    Some other points.

    1) i think parnell station no 2 will be on the eastern line over by the strand and the cheshire st location gives better spacing and overall coverage of the area.

    2) development wise it gives parnell impetus to develop away from the road as newmarket has done. this will take time. It be worth it

    3)the rough unused sloping part of the domain next to the station is now a prime candidate for public park/ recreation development. A mini botanic gardens?. Working with the zoo to create an enclosed native plant and animal exhibition?. Ecology education centre?. Outdoor theatre for performance art?.

    In the long run its a better site i think, but perhaps may take some time to get going

    1. The zoning does not really support it however with built character overlay & HVC’s lowering permissible height both which will reduce long run development potential..

      The original proposal is zoned around it all Mixed Use with HVC’s increasing permissible height massively for example allowing on many sections 32m & City Centre Zone

      1. It doesnt have to develop in height. Just in purpose and design. Less offices and cars. More apartments and public space. .

        Imo around cheshire st is would be better for development than lower parnell rise . Its closer to the hub of parnell around heard park.

        Its best i think to have walking cycling and people hubs around each rail station. The best chance for that is the middle of parnell imo and back towards cheshire st.

        Lower parnell rise or stanley st doesnt strike me as a place that will become a walking cycling people hub to sit and relax in. Its too hilly on the parnell side and the only flat bit is a windswept motorway funnel.

        In a perfect world i would build a station building at parnell station while filling in each side with earth to create a land bridge from parnell across the rail lines and station to the domain taking away as much height as we can thereby improving access and comfort

        1. I guess a lot of the lower area development has come about historically due to the old Strand Station there perhaps? If the new station can be fixed with local board money then I see no issue with it spending money on that.

        2. “It doesn’t have to develop in height. Just in purpose and design. Less offices and cars. More apartments and public space. .”

          More public space? There is the entire Domain right next to the station, how much more do you want!!??

          1. We were talking about the Cheshire st area in parnell, not the domain side
            developing the vibrant part of parnell away from the main rd into the backstreets and toward the station . making Cheshire st or falcon st more people friendly with wider footpaths or shared spaces and changing the use of that area.

  31. I tried to use this station. It is like trying the understand the rules of a very obscure and tortuous game. It can only be used at certain times and only of going South. ( I want to say south going yaks only) It didn’t look like there was any way to get from one side of the tracks to the other. I did try researching this but it shouldn’t be that difficult to find out.

    I’m completely bemused by the fact that the main Auckland rail station used to be on Beach rd there and obviously still has heaps of un-used space. Why couldn’t some kind of station still be there? Surely there are still quite a few offices in Parnell not to mention students and others.

    Maybe it is a case of connections to and from the new station not being ready but if that is the case just communicate that to locals and potential users. Say something like – we have a station that you can use but don’t expect it to be that useful until 2019 or whenever they get an underpass and other things. I did read there is an underpass somewhere but it must be a secret underpass because when the station opened that was not mentioned anywhere at all.

    1. “I’m completely bemused by the fact that the main Auckland rail station used to be on Beach rd there and obviously still has heaps of un-used space. Why couldn’t some kind of station still be there?”

      Its slightly ironic, but since they built Britomart you can’t run trains to the old Auckland Station. It’s on a triangular junction between the south and east lines, on a link that only runs between the two. Well you can run trains there, but once they are there they can’t continue to Britomart, it’s one or the other.

      There is the possibility of a new station just nearby however, with platforms on the eastern line alongside Quay St near The Strand.

      1. I just used streetview to remind myself of the area – I used to go through it as a student but I’m out west now and don’t go there often. What I see are a small number of apartment complexes surrounded by long monolithic building frontages, at-grade carparks and pedestrian-unfriendly wide roads. As an area that should have been so well connected to the rail system, it looks, shall we say, less walkable or liveable than ideal.

        Train experts, I imagine the rail system needs that space at The Strand station – it couldn’t be used for developing the area?

        1. it’s being used for staging post CRL as there is still a plan to terminate and start some services at Britomart. We don’t need to do that, but if we do it, we need that space.

          1. Hmmm, thanks. Putting aside whether we need a stadium, we definitely don’t need its unfriendly street frontages…

  32. Disappointing yet not surprising. I heard about the political interference early on and worried it would go bad. I’d heard that they tried to rush it in time for last years local elections (because certain politicians had made promises), but missed anyway. Real shame as this station is the missing link between Britomart and Newmarket. Should never have been built wrong, guess we’ll have to pay to fix it!

  33. A reminder that it is not finished and only open for limited services atm. Give it a bit more time.

    from ATs website…..

    Parnell Station

    Auckland Transport (AT) is developing a new train station at Parnell. The new station, at the foot of Cheshire Street, will be developed in 2 stages.

    The station opened for limited services on 12 March 2017, before Stage 1 is fully completed.

    Stage 2 will be developed at a later date, to complete the station and its environs to full standard. Comprehensive services will be scheduled when other network and timetable developments are completed.

    Project status: Construction
    Project zone: Central

    Project overview
    •Stage 1 includes a basic station and platforms.

    •Initial basic station will be connected via the existing underpass which also connects Parnell and the Auckland Domain.

    •The old Newmarket Station building has been relocated to the site and its exterior is being refurbished.

    •A new path from the station to Carlaw Park/Nicholls Lane and Stanley Street is under development. Joint funding has been provided by the Waitamata Local Board.

    •Ticket gates will be installed from late-2017.

    •Stage 2 will comprise further enhancements to improve the station access. The dates and funding for these works are to be confirmed.

    •When the full station is in full use, more than 2000 passengers are forecast to get off the train at Parnell in morning peaks.

  34. Caught a train from Britomart to Parnell station yesterday (Saturday). Took about five minutes. Went up to the village and then visited friends in the area. Walked down to the train station and came home again. I agree it may not be situated for the largested catchment but it worked well for me going to Parnell.

    Will likely do this again next Saturday to go to Parnell and spend some money at their shops. Great to have acess to Parnell without having to battle driving there and parking. (Which I never did ’cause it seemed too much hassle).

  35. Maybe as our Metro develops we’ll get a further station near the old Railway building/Spark Arena to help cater for the University/Arena patronage. I know it might slow journey times but it is supposed to be a Metro.

    (Please don’t build a sports stadium downtown. There’s enough issues for police with anti-social behaviour there. It’ll be a lot worse with a sports stadium).

  36. Several years ago Parnell Community Committee and Parnell Business Association took the station location opportunity to ARC, Auckland Council, Local Boards and they all agreed with locating the station where it is now in the historic Waipapa Valley. Importantly, Mike Lee has done so much work even prior to our involvement and thereafter always supporting of our aspirations both with AT and KiwiRail. The tenure of several posts is in our view ill informed.

    On Saturday 30 Sept at midday you are welcome to meet us at the underpass tunnel down from the Ngahere Steps off Gibraltar Cres . We will take you for a tiki tour of the immediate area and are confident that you will appreciate the Parnell Train Station is located on the very best ‘desire line location’ in Auckland.

    1. I am hearing a lot of “in my opinions” regarding why my article is wrong but not a lot of empirical evidence and data to back that claim up.

    2. I feel a little concerned at your invitation to meet at the underpass tunnel, Luke. Lol. I’m sure it’s all good!

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