With the new bus network set to roll out next year one of the important pieces of work Auckland Transport need to do is build or upgrade a number of transport interchanges to enable quick and easy transfers. The ones we know about so far are Otahuhu and Manukau. This year AT is planning on the consultation for a number of other areas with the biggest one being West Auckland so it can be tied in closely with the introduction of the awesome new electric trains.
There are planned to be a few Key interchanges in West Auckland with naturally a fairly large one being in Henderson. The map below shows all of the currently planned frequent routes (blue – at least every 15 mins) and secondary routes (green – at least every 30 minutes). On top of this there may also be less frequent local, peak only or school routes.
Henderson already has an interchange but it has a number of flaws including being a bit like Britomart and spread out all over the place. It’s also simply not big enough to handle the number of buses that will use it in the future – in part due to the horrible way Westcity interacts with the street including being the location of a loading zone and carpark entrance.
All of this means that to support the new network, Auckland Transport want to expand the interchange. The most logical place to do that is just around the corner (behind the image above) but it seems not everyone is happy with that idea.
Retailers in Henderson are concerned that relocating a bus shelter will have a detrimental effect on trading.
Auckland Transport propose to move the bus stop outside the WestCity mall carpark on Railside Ave further up the road from 4-8 to 14-20 Railside Ave.
It is also looking to relocate an existing loading zone from outside 4-8 Railside Ave further north to outside the frontage of 382 Great North Rd, resulting in the loss of seven on-street car parking spaces.
Norcross Fishing World owner Robert Norcross has written to Auckland Transport and says the removal of parking spots will result in fewer customers.
“For the 50 years I have been here, people have complained continuously about the parking. We originally had parking on both sides of the street and we lost one side about 35 years ago and we have had to make do.”
Wait so you lost some parking 35 years ago and you’re still in business, that doesn’t sound like it’s been overly detrimental. There is lots of other parking in Henderson, including in the mall which is only 100m or so away. If 7 carparks are going to be causing that much problem for your business then perhaps there are bigger issues.
Mr Norcross feels there are alternative locations that would be suitable for bus stops.
“This is the narrowest part of Railside Ave and you’re going to relocate a bus stop there,” he says.
“The stupid thing is where the headquarters are at the moment they have acres of land which people have forgotten about. Another perfect site is right next to the railway lines on Smythe Rd.”
Auckland Transport will be increasing the number of buses servicing these bus stops over the next few years with increasing demand.
There is no room to expand the bus stop outside the mall because of the Westfield carpark driveway and the Edsel St intersection. The relocated bus stop will be long enough to accommodate three buses at any one time.
This certainly isn’t the narrowest part of Railside Ave, including the parking the road is about four lanes wide through the section. As for moving the bus interchange elsewhere, yes there is heaps of land that isn’t really being used right next to AT’s headquarters but there’s a major issue with it, the only way to access it is by Henderson Valley Rd and that would require detours for most buses and unnecessary longer bus trip for passengers. That’s definitely the last thing we want to do if we a) want people actually using the buses or b) are prepared to spend huge amounts of money to build road access over/under the rail lines. It would probably be easier (and a lot cheaper) for AT to let and encourage people going to Henderson to park at their headquarters and walk across the rail bridge.
Of course as AT points out, perhaps not all of their customers want to arrive by car, especially with a much improved PT network.
Auckland Transport media manager Mark Hannan says the proposal is at the consultation stage and all feedback will be considered before a final decision is made.
“Whenever we propose changes to bus stops and shelters outside businesses, we actively consider potential impacts upon those businesses as part of the design,” he says. “It must be recognised, however, that bus passengers are also potential customers for businesses.”
I hope AT hold their ground on this.
Note: I would be equally happy if AT were able to convince Westfield to redevelop that edge of their property as it’s so actively hostile towards anyone not in a car.