In 2011 New Zealand will be hosting the Rugby World Cup, which ever since the announcement was made in late 2005 has been shoved down our throat ad nauseum. Not to say that it isn’t an exciting event to happen, as it will be pretty awesome for New Zealand and Auckland in particular during the later parts of the tournament. I’m not going to talk about the Eden Park upgrade itself at the moment, although I’m sure eventually there will be a good reason for me to post a few photo of the redevelopment of the ground. Instead, I’m going to briefly discuss the transportation upgrades that are going to happen around Eden Park so that it isn’t a giant disaster.
At the Bledisloe Cup rugby match between New Zealand and Australia last year apparently the Kingsland Railway Station (which is the main station which serves Eden Park) got rather overcrowded at the end of the match. As the capacity of Eden Park is being increased to 60,000 – and probably a greater proportion of crowds at the World Cup wouldn’t be locals – there will be significantly more pressure put on that station when the World Cup rolls around. So there has been a proposal to widen the platforms for the train station, which then means that it is necessary to realign a part of Sandringham Road. The latest report by council on the job was approved last week, so the project will be going ahead, which is a good thing. A plan of the proposed station and realignment of Sandringham Road is shown below:
That plan is a little technical I suppose, but effectively Sandringham Road is shifted slightly southwards, which will mean a bit of property taken from the houses at the bottom of the plan above. Bus lanes will also be added to the southbound part of Sandringham Road too. This is a good improvement as that area is a bit of an inexplicable gap in what is otherwise a good provision of bus lanes along this road.
Another interesting part of the proposal is the planned link road between Sandringham Road and Walters Road. I’d never quite realised before, but this link road would provide a much more direct route from Kingsland to Eden Park and would allow people to avoid the potentially congested pedestrian bridge over the railway line. A plan of the link road is included below, which has been designed in a nice “shared space” way that I mentioned a few posts ago when I wrote about Liveable Street.
There was some opposition to the link road in particular, as it will involve the removal of a couple of nice old houses, and will probably increase traffic using Walters Road as a link between Sandringham and Dominion Roads. However, I still think that its positives far outweigh the negatives, as getting people away from Eden Park after big games is a major priority – in particular separating people who want to use the train station from those who don’t. I also think that adding in the bus lanes on Sandringham Road will also have an important benefit for public transport users along this road (which does just happen to be me at the moment).