I was reading the Western Leader that came on Friday and a letter to the editor caught my eye:
I regret that Gayle Marshall is right (Western Leader, June 22, 2012)
Auckland Transport is proposing to delay for two years the introduction of further Park and Ride in Glen Eden.
The local board was stunned when the decision was made.
I for one had understood that it was proposed, programmed and funded to start pretty quickly but it was delayed because of last minute funding cuts to Auckland Transport.
Certainly the Waitakere Ranges Local Board fully supported the original proposal and I wanted to be there when the ribbon was cut, and soon.
I agree that the current situation is not acceptable. The existing Park and Ride is full by 7:30am and if Auckland wants more people to use public transport then more parking must be provided.
I am not sure where the money went to but there is no a capital fund that local boards can access to promote local transport projects and I am hoping that this can be used to speed up the creation of the Park and Ride.
I can not think of a more important local project.
Glen Eden has a great future and will become part of a vibrant transport hub as more and more people used the imoproved train system.
But only if we get the local infrastructure right
Waitakere Ranges Local Board member
I have highlighted the part that annoys me the most. Now I do agree that park and ride places are useful but I would caveat that with the point that they are only useful in the right situations. The reason for this is simply due to the sheer amount of land they take up compared to the number of extra people they allow to drive to the station. The current park and ride (oddly it isn’t listed on MAXX as even existing) has space for about 80 cars right across the road from the train station. That land however is probably a prime piece of real estate for future development being right next to the station and the Glen Eden town centre.
Auckland Transport has already done some investigation into the issue and in a report to the local board have said:
The feasibility study is at the final stages and the draft report has been submitted. An at – grade car park on KiwiRail land located to the south of Waikumete Road (site 2) is the best option overall in the short to medium term, and the most economically efficient. This option also involves retaining the existing Park and Ride site off West Coast Road (site 3).
In the longer term, there may be a case to provide additional park and ride facilities in Glen Eden. The most cost effective option is likely to involve the construction of a multi-storey car park on KiwiRail land located to the south of Waikumete Road (site 2) and developing the existing Park and Ride site off West Coast Road (site 3).
Here is the location of site 2 which is considered to be the best option, the blue line shows the walk to the station would be about 200m so not too bad. The piece of land highlighted is roughly twice the size of the existing park and ride and lets estimate that we could probably get around 200 car parks in there.
I don’t have any idea on how much this car park is expected to cost but based on the recent extension to the Albany car park, lets assume costs are about $10k for each park. That would put the cost at about $2m and that is not including the land which I suspect that being on Kiwirail land that AT would take a lease out rather than purchace the land (as they are doing in Swanson). My main issue though is the thought that we have to provide car parking if we want people to catch PT. We can actually work out the impact of this facility fairly easily, that is because these car parks are almost exclusively going to be used by commuters who are working Monday to Friday which means the parks would perhaps allow for an extra 400 trips per day. By comparison there are over 40,000 train trips on weekdays so even if the parking was filled only with new passengers then we would have only increased patronage by less than 1%. Another way to look at it is that over the course of a year (lets say 50 weeks to account for things like public holidays) it would only contribute 100,000 trips to the rail network which is pretty tiny in the grand scheme of things.
I guess at the end of the day I do agree that park and ride is important but lets be realistic and realise that it is only part of the problem and that even today only a small number of people who are using the rail network do so in a park and ride. If we want much higher usage of trains in the future then we need politicians to start realising that spending millions on car parks isn’t going to be the way to do it.