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A Visit to New Lynn

Growing up out west I used to pass through New Lynn on a fairly regular basis and up until a few years ago the place was pretty run down. That all started to change a few years ago when the rail line was placed into a trench and the fantastic new station and bus interchange was built. But while that development was good, it was only the start of a programme created by the former Waitakere City Council to transform the whole area and it is probably fair to say that it is the biggest urban redevelopment going on in the country outside of the CBD. Here is an old image we saw looking at some potential development.

An old concept of development in New Lynn

Patrick and I visited New Lynn the other to have a look around the developments going on there. The place is a hive of activity with lots of different projects going on so here are a few photos of how things are looking at the moment:

First up, Gt North Rd where as a result of things like the Clark St bypass (as seen to the left of the image above) the plans are to slow down traffic and make it more pedestrian friendly. Work is currently focused on the southern side of the road where some quite deep pits are being constructed. These will eventually have two purposes, the primary one will be to collect and filter storm water but they will also be used to hold trees. You can see just how much space has been taken out of the road when you compare the location of the new kerb with the old one to the left of the image.

Next up is McRae Way which is a shared space that comes off Gt North Rd and curves around to Mayoral Dr and currently sits behind most of the shops. Here are a couple of images courtsy of Google that show how things used to be and as you can see it was not really a road at all but just a route through a hideous car park (note the old bus station and train station are in the bottom right of the map)

And here is how it looks today with the first part of the shared space completed:

The car parks are also scheduled for development in the future

And looking back in the direction of New North Rd

Lining this share space with buildings will really help to transform this space and could help to make it into a really cool area. Of course one thing that also sticks out in the first McRae Way photo above was the development going on in the background. That is part of developments Infratil are doing on top of the old bus station site. There are two buildings going up here, the one you see in the picture will have retail on the bottom and then car parking above it which I believe is partly to allow for development of the carparks above. One floor of parking is actually being dedicated to the other building going in which will be a medical centre along with other medical practices. Like the car park it will also have retail on the ground floor and there will be a lane between the two giving good access to the train station.

Medical Centre with the other exit of McRae Way

Medical centre on the right, train station on the left with the bus interchange between them

The last thing going on at the moment is at the train station itself. There Auckland Transport are adding additional canopies which when finished will provide complete coverage of the platforms and stairwells (something a lot more stations need). It is a bit hard to photograph them but here you can see the canopy extending down the stairs.

And the new and old canopies in the trench itself

Note to AT: the station could really do with a good clean, the artwork panels and platform edges and old canopies look really dirty. Also when on the train I have noticed weeds growing at each end of the platforms where water has pooled

All up there is quite a bit going on here and some really exciting changes for what was once a pretty run down place. Assuming it is ultimately judged to be successful I suspect that the town centre will likely become a template for future redevelopment, not just in the city but within the country as well.

10 comments to A Visit to New Lynn

  • Stu Donovan

    Thanks for the update guys – really interesting to see what’s going on at New Lynn; I think it’s going to be fantastic when it’s done. Completely second the comment on New Lynn needing a tidy up: The panels are dirty and weeds growing in the trench is not a good look.

    One other orange flag to wave: If you look at the intersection to the bottom right hand corner of the WCC concept plan, you can see that there’s no pedestrian crossings on the west-east approaches. I hope that’s not an accurate representation of what they plan to deliver at this intersection? You don’t deserve the TOD label if you don’t allow pedestrians to cross the road to access the transit station … ;)

    Otherwise all looks fine and dandy. Well done to the old Waitakere CC, ARTA, and now AC/AT for keeping this along. Would have been so easy for this plan to fall apart somewhere along the line.

    • If you are referring to the first image, one thing you can see is that it doesn’t show a crossing from Lynnmall to the yellow building (medical centre) yet in the actual image above (third from bottom) you can see it does exist. That first image is a very old one so don’t rely on that for what is being done.

  • Christopher T

    I quite agree that it’s great that they’re improving the look of the place because it sorely needs it. Unfortunately a lot has been unjustly neglected of late, notably things like the 1970s (earlier?) former BNZ building on the corner of Gt North Road and Totara Ave and the former Ceramco building across the road. And, sadly, the Clark Street bypass is one of the most pedestrian unfriendly zones I’ve encountered outside of Hamillton. Small design defects such as placing the main entrance/exit of the station midway between two really slow beg-button activated pedestrian crossings which leads to passengers (mostly school kids) exiting the station and crossing directly over the median strip; given the volume of speeded up traffic (wonderful wide boulevards), this design obviously encourages high risk behaviour. The station glass canopy business is another problem because in designing them no real thought seems to have been given as to how they’re to be cleaned: you need only look at the glass shaft over the escalators which they tried, unsuccessfully to clean over the last Christmas/New Year break leading to a lot of smearing and not much cleaning.

  • A big improvement, plans from previous Waitakere Council so it will be interesting to see if these kinds of improvements will continue in the future to other moribund and disconnected centres [Otahuhu!], it is very important, for example what sort of quality of place is developed in Panmure as a result of the big road fest there too.

    However it still represents very driving dominant programme with insufficient pedestrian privilege. At least the second of these problems can be improved at little cost if only the retrograde council staff and consultants could shift their mindsets into this century…..

  • WestieCentral

    And looking back in the direction of New North Rd….what is with the road paving? It seems like someone tried to make it “funky” but just looks like a whole lot of patches that will look worse with oil and tyres!

    • I think it is about breaking up the road surface which is one of the tools used in shared spaces to help tell drivers that they aren’t on a normal road any more and so have to drive differently.

  • patrick

    A cleanup of the station is partly due to the diesel fumes from the train engines.A lot of other stations could be cleaned due to this also, maybe it could be done when the new electric trains come into service

    • The EMUs are coming to the western line last so we won’t be seeing them till late 2015 at the earliest. That’s 3 years away so could probably do with a clean before then and once again after they are introduced.

  • Charles

    The problem with the Great North re-do is that it is actually the through way between Avondale/Mt Albert and Henderson. Discouraging through traffic is nonsense, because there’s no alternative. Clark isn’t an alternative, it goes off in quite a different direction. All this development and the concept plan for New Lynn is an interesting experiment in social engineering. They want to change the use of the whole space from the organicly occurring use, to something totally different, but all the user cues are negative so far (No damned park and ride users! No damned through traffic! Everybody go AWAY!). It’s a bit hard to see what the the new attraction is supposed to be. I guess people have to visit the doctor – my doctor is moving from a pleasant convenient local office into that new industrial clinic – that’s actually a negative for me, I’m seriously considering switching doctors.

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