This post is the first of three that will focus on the proposed stations that are to be constructed as part of the City Rail Link project: Aotea Station, K Road Station and Newton Station.
Aotea Station is, without doubt, the most important station that the City Rail Link creates – located in the very heart of midtown Auckland. Unlike Britomart, which has half its catchment in the sea, Aotea Station will be surrounded by the highest density of employment and apartments in the whole of New Zealand. Improving access to this core part of Auckland’s city centre is perhaps the single greatest benefit of the CRL project.
The pictures below show the location of Aotea Station, underneath Albert Street in the block between Victoria and Wellesley streets: Of course increasing access to such a core part of Auckland is likely to stimulate quite a lot of further development in this area. The City Centre Master Plan highlighted the possible development opportunities in the direct area around Aotea Station: The station entrance itself (well, the main one, presumably there will be others) was roughly sketched in a presentation to the Council last year and is shown below looking from the northwest corner of the Albert/ Wellesley intersection: The map below confirms the catchment of Aotea Station will make a huge improvement to the general accessibility of Auckland’s CBD to the rail network: The combination of Aotea Station’s location improving accessibility to the heart of Auckland’s CBD plus the huge shortcut from the western line provided by the CRL means that travel times between many places in the west to midtown will reduce dramatically. The table below highlights this fact: My expectation is that, once built, Aotea Station would become the busiest station on the rail network – largely because of its catchment being so large. In the longer term it’s the obvious interchange point with a North Shore railway line which would really boost its numbers even further. It will be a logical interchange point with buses – particularly those heading north-south along Albert Street and east-west along Wellesley Street. It will also probably be the station of choice for university students: as heading from there up Wellesley Street to Auckland Uni and AUT isn’t a particularly long walk.
While all the proposed stations on the CRL are exciting, in pure transport terms Aotea is the most exciting. It will make a huge difference to a huge number of people currently working, living and visiting the real heart of Auckland’s CBD.