This is Bike Auckland’s quick submit guide for AT’s consultation on rail improvements for South Auckland – in particular, three new rail stations planned for fast-growing areas in Drury and Paerata.
Consultation has been extended to Friday 26 March 2021.
For more background and some pointed commentary on development in this area check out this enlightening blog post from our friends at Greater Auckland.
Here’s the situation in a nutshell:
- Drury and Paerata, south of Papakura, are greenfields areas for urban development under the Auckland Unitary Plan, and in fact development is already kicking off in these traditionally rural areas.
- AT and Waka Kotahi are delivering the Supporting Growth Programme to create a transport network to tie Drury and Paerata into the rest of Auckland.
- The plans include extending electric train services to Pukekohe, and adding three new Southern Line stations on the way – at Drury Central (beside a planned town centre), Drury West and Paerata.
While we’re all for the electric extension, and for access to rail services for multi-modal travel across the city, the missing element is bike and walking access.
The proposed station plans all include large Park and Ride (PNR) facilities – ie, surface carparks – immediately next door.
At the scale and location planned, these will cut the stations off from their surrounds and make walking and cycling less attractive and safe for people accessing these stations locally – ie, the very residents these developments are meant to serve.
(Paerata Station features less of the “moat effect” than the Drury proposals, with PNR facilities on the opposite side of the planned development area – but the station area is also located further away from future housing and employment, and thus from walking and cycling catchment.)
The main concession to walking and biking access, something directly asked for by the public in earlier rounds of consultation, is a shared path along the rail corridor from Drury and Paerata down to Pukekohe. Or rather the promise of a path, “in the future”, and without a mapped route or any other detail in the proposals for consultation.
AT, Waka Kotahi and KiwiRail can do so much better than this, for both current and future residents of these areas. What we build now will set the template for how people live, work and travel in these areas – so walking and cycling has to be enabled with appropriate planning infrastructure from day one.
How you can help!
The Supporting Growth consultation website features details and maps on each proposed rail station. PDF feedback forms are available, but the best way to offer specific feedback is via the Supporting Growth Social Pinpoint page.
Here are the two best ways to have your say through this page:
• On the individual stations
You can find surveys on Drury Central, Drury West and Paerata stations on the left-hand bar of the Social Pinpoint page. Look for the coloured icons of trains on the track!
These are quick and easy to complete:
First up, use the toggles to say how important the new station is to you (if you’re submitting, it’s probably important at least!), and whether you’d use it in the future. Then describe where you’d like to get to by rail using the new station – whether you live in the area or would like to visit, work or play.
On all three station surveys, Questions 4 through 8 are the key ones to speak up for better walking and cycling:
- 4. What do you think of the location of these proposed facilities? We’d say neutral or lower – chiefly because of the Park and Ride issues rather than the station sites in themselves. You can detail these or other reasons for your response in later questions.
- 5. What do you think of the proposed facilities for [X] Station? Again, we say neutral or lower. The next question lets you explain why…
- 6. What would make it easier to get to the new station? This is the big one. We recommend asking for:
- Safe and separated walking and cycling facilities linking the station to the town centre, from opening day.
- Unhindered walking and cycling access to stations. PNR facilities should not obstruct natural ‘desire lines’ between development areas and the station. Parking spaces should be reduced in number if required to ensure that access by foot or bike is safe and convenient.
- A separated shared path linking all stations with Pukekohe – to be opened simultaneously with the stations.
- 7. Overall, what is good about the new [X] station? Add your reasons and support here. For instance, the new stations provide transport choice for residents and visitors outside of private motor vehicles, and can support multi-modal travel – as long as walking and cycling is properly provided for!
- 8. Overall, what improvements should be made to this new station, or what else should we consider? Again, you can make some or all of the points above around easier access, but bearing in mind the current bike theft crisis in Auckland, we’d also suggest calling for secure and CCTV monitored bike parking at stations – so station users can have more confidence in making multi-modal journeys without a nasty surprise on their return.
• On the project as a whole
Check out the interactive map, add your comments or ideas, or respond and upvote to others’ comments or official “pins” with details on the planned facilities. You can comment on the need for:
- Safe and separated walking and cycling facilities from stations to town centres, employment and residential areas
- Unhindered walking and cycling access, including shifting or downsizing PNR facilities (ie carparks) so they don’t deter walking or cycling or make it unsafe
- A separated shared path linking all stations with Pukekohe, to be designed and route-protected now – not at an unclear point “in the future”.
If you see a comment already in support of these ideas, or others you like, give it an upvote!
Don’t forget to sign off with an email address at the bottom to give a bit of weight to your response.
Whatever way you choose to have your say, we appreciate it, and future residents of Drury and Paerata will thank you too!