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Station Links

Instead of building heaps of new park and rides across the region I think that the biggest opportunity is to improve access to PT is to make it easier to get to by walking or cycling. This covers not just the train stations but the entire PT network and I think there’s probably a heap of opportunities to make services easier to access. These projects are often not glamorous or even usually attract any attention but can be vital in getting more people catching PT. On my trip to work I’ve noticed what appears to be one such project at the Fruitvale Rd station.

A rough path has been appearing between two houses and along the rail corridor towards the station. It will mean that some of these houses that back on to the rail lines will now have much easier access to the system and saving 400-500m of walking out to Gt North Rd. That might not seem like much but I suspect should make a difference in encouraging the people living here to use the rail system and all for a cost that’s likely to be less than a couple of carparks.

Improving access to Fruitvale

Despite what only seems like a few houses being affected I fully support AT doing projects like this and think we should be doing a lot more. There appear to be a couple of other opportunities at Fruitvale alone.

Are there any quick and easy links you’d like to see?

66 comments to Station Links

  • I used to live in Greenlane between Great South Road and the rail tracks. I often caught the train into town. Google maps gives the distance of my walking route along the ‘proper’ way, which is 700 m (http://goo.gl/maps/pVyfH). But I could cut my walk down to just a couple hundred metres by hopping over the fence, then (carefully!) crossing the track and walking straight onto the platform. You’d have to be crazy not to. The lack of a good walking route near the tracks here substantially lengthens time to station for residents on Derry St, Adam St, Woodbine St, Wairakei St etc.

    You could substantially improve station access with a small footpath near the tracks and a (controlled?) pedestrian crossing on the end of the platform opposite the Greenlane East motor-vehicle-dominated overbridge.

    • I know this would mean the tracks aren’t grade-separated from the pedestrian access, but pedestrians routinely have to cross super-busy roads all over Auckland and I don’t see it changing any time soon. Crossing tracks where there’s only one train every 5-15 min or so seems much safer and more pleasant.

    • Not to mention the incredibly unfriendly situation for people who live on Marewa Rd or Clonbern Rd and have to detour a very long way to a pedestrian crossing or risk their lives crossing Greenlane Rd. That detour is hundreds of metres in both cases. I understand that Greenlane Rd is an over-dimension corridor so cannot be constrained by over-bridges, but something needs to be done about the lunatic disconnection that Greenlane Rd imposes on the Greenlane station’s northern catchment.

    • Nick s

      I agree with the comment re Green Lane. It is absolutely vital we open up catchments to rail stations like Green Lane. Derry st is poorly served and a safe connection to the station needs to be implemented soonest.

  • Fred

    There used to be a connection between Caughey place to the Baldwin Ave station. It was pretty convenient. It’s not that much further to go round, but it was really convenient.

    • Rob Mayo

      Agreed, It ran between 11 Wesley Ave and 1 Caughey Place. Reinstate that path to/from the rail corridor and along the corridor to the existing path on the station up main. Real easy win.

  • Steve D

    Another way to make PT easier to access via walking is better pedestrian links across roads. There’s little point in having bus stops every 100m if there’s no opportunity to easily cross the road for 300m, and if people have to wait 5 minutes to cross a road, that’s even more off-putting than an extra 5 minute walk.

  • Sam

    A pedestrian link along the Motorway in Remuera between Omahu Road overbridge and Market Road overbridge would put several dozen houses 5 mins closer to Remuera Station, plus there appears to be space next to the motorway corridor for it.

    • Should be a pedestrian path built all along the rail corridor, linking up the multiplicity of dead-end streets. Would be particularly useful on the Southern Line as far as Penrose where it would also serve pedestrians who are stranded by the motorway. There are a number of cul de sacs that run up to the railway off GSR through Greenlane that could be given a much quicker walk to the station if such a path were built.

      • Tim Roberts

        A cycle path from Otahuhu north in the rail corridor would connect with the Waikaraka path and make that path a whole lot more useful. It would also connect with the proposed Parnell tunnel cycle route and Beach Rd cycleway, therefore providing a high-quality cycle path in the southern corridor. I totally agree with the above comments that such a path would also greatly improve accessibility to all the stations it passes by,

  • Linkage and visibility in relation to the street network is essential. Perhaps the physical connectivity could be reinforced with “soft” tactics as well, inspired by Janette Sadik-Khan’s cheap and easy interventions. One idea might be to hold occasional local community events at train stations (pick a quiet summer Sunday or public holiday every year, invite everyone in the catchment). It’ll give people an excuse to find their way to the station and get to know it better, without committing to switching travel modes or anything significant. It’d just be a way to increase social visibility for the station, putting it in the shared mental map of the neighbourhood, which could eventually make it easier to attract modal shifts.

  • Christopher T

    Great post and it raises all sort of issues. One that springs to mind immediately is the disconnect between those at AT responsible for rail and the road engineers who, to a significant degree, are responsible for things like signalised intersections and where the priority is, pretty much across Auckland, traffic flow not pedestrian utility. New Lynn is a classic case in point with access/egress dependent on traffic flow and designed to ignore desire lines, particularly across Clark Street. The same holds true for pretty much any suburban station. Time for the road engineers to look beyond their calculators/outmoded codes of practice and to start thinking about how pedestrians and cyclists connect into the transport network?

    • Stu Donovan

      yes. I think it’s time for traffic engineers to acknowledge that our profession has been a bit feral in the last few decades.

  • The blue line path will use the same amount of land as about 15 carparks, so where will the toll gate be going on this path?

    Or is land use that encourages PT use only be charged for if it involves cars?

    I think this post is in direct conflict with the park ‘n ride post.

    • Bryce P

      There’s no way you’d fit parking there. Stop being so silly.

    • What’s the depth of concrete required for a car parking space, Geoff? And what’s required for a pedestrian path? Which one of these will be used for storing stationary metal cages for eight hours a day thus saving the driver money?

      • Good point, the concrete used for a path is more expensive than a simple chip seal car park.

        *** Remainder of comment deleted for violating user guideline #4, which states “general moaning about the blog and its editorial direction is extremely boring. If you there are things you like and/or don’t like about the blog then put it in an email to us, rather than a comment. Or find another space more to your liking. Source: http://transportblog.co.nz/about/user-guidelines/ ***

        • Bollocks. A path could be 3cm of concrete and it’d last for years since Auckland doesn’t get hard winters. A carpark needs multiples of that, plus all the attendant space for vehicle maneuvering that must be the same thickness.

          • Public pathways have a minimum concrete depth of 150mm, so 30mm would be under code significantly.

          • Sailor Boy

            Doesn’t need to be concrete Geoff. Could be gravel, and there is no way that the land packeage in 200m^2

          • So if foot traffic has a minimum depth of 150mm (seriously? That’s ridiculous!), what’s the minimum for motor vehicles that weigh dozens of times as much and travel considerably quicker so do significantly more damage? 300mm? 450mm?
            Sounds like you’re making it up. 15cm of concrete to support pedestrians and bicycles sounds like someone plucking a random figure from a fundamental orifice in order to discourage building anything other than roads since if you’re already laying in that much weight-bearing surface you may as well go the whole hog.

            Also, my observations of dug-up footpath are that there’s no way the slab depth is 15cm. 10cm tops, and that’d be a stretch.

    • Logan

      The toll gate will be by a scale so that pedestrians can pay proportionally by their weight (and therefore damage to the surface). Prams, bicycles, and unicycles will be excluded from the weighing system and charged per wheel to promote the council’s Unicycling Babies programme.

    • john smith

      Geoff, my comment in this post – http://transportblog.co.nz/2014/05/29/how-to-charge-for-pr/
      – still applies: footpaths are a non-rival ‘public good’ (in the economist’s sense), and accordingly it would not be economically sensible to toll them, even if it were possible.

      Incidentally, the same applies to a lot of other services that are traditionally provided by private enterprise for a charge (for example, a half empty cinema). In these cases we accept the economic inefficiency created by the charge (it excludes some people who could gain satisfaction from being admitted without cost to anyone else) because for whatever reason we don’t want to bring the activity into the public realm, which would be necessary for it to be publicly funded. So ‘public good’ in the economist’s sense does not correlate perfectly to things that are in fact provided publicly.

      • Park ‘ rides are non-rival as well, as their purpose is to get drivers from non-PT served areas to shorten their car journey and use PT instead.

        • Stu Donovan

          you’re misunderstanding use of the word “non-rival”.

          Non-rival means consumption will not prevent someone else from consuming that same good. In the case of P&R that are full (as is the case at many P&R in Auckland), vehicles are rivalrous insofar as one vehicle excludes another from parking there.

          The same does not hold for footpaths, as they are rarely at capacity. Hence footpaths are non-rivalrous; P&R are not.

        • That might be their stated purpose, but evidence posted on this blog from overseas is that PnR facilities within built-up areas just entice people to drive to the PnR instead of being self-propelled or catching a feeder public transport service.

    • The really sad thing is, you actually think you have a point.

      • My point is that charging for PT encouragement is ridiculous. Fortunately my point is accepted by the powers that be, and park ‘n rides are indeed free, and for the very reasoning I put forward.

        • Your point is still not supported by sophisticated analysis just your personal assumption and usual stubbornness. The evidence shows that free PNR only encourages some PT use, does it clumsily [ie inefficiently] and in ways that inhibit other PT use. Anyway it’s freeness only helps in the same way that free fares would, and the ‘powers that be’ don’t offer those now do they?, so we can easily conclude that their view on the matter is inconsistent and of little help in finding the best way forward. Also these very same PTB are now saying they see merit in charging for PNR. So you’ve made no point yet again.

          The bottom line is that everyone agrees that PT encouragement as you call it is good, but that there are many ways of doing it and they all come with costs so all should be evaluated on their own terms.

          • “The evidence shows that free PNR only encourages some PT use”

            Enough to fill the carparks!

            “does it clumsily [ie inefficiently] and in ways that inhibit other PT use”

            Perhaps overseas, but in Auckland most people are not PT served, so it’s either park ‘n ride to use PT or drive all the way. I suggest you ditch overseas research, and go with Auckland research, that includes asking park ‘n ride users what they would actually do if their parking was charged for.

          • This is getting very dull; but one more time. The Albany PNR was extended at a 5mil ratepayer cost and it increased ridership from the station by exactly ZERO.

          • Patrick, there are other ways to stop non-PT users from using park ‘n ride carparks, such as validating parking with your PT use to/from the location concerned.

          • Patrick R

            No you misunderstand what happened. People who previously got to the station by other means were bribed back into their cars by the ratepayer subsidy to clog local roads and drive to the station. Stupidity.

          • So instead of getting up earlier and driving the kids to kindy, then driving home again, then taking a bus to Albany, to connect with another bus, they just swap the drive home with the drive to the park ‘n ride, and get the same amount done in less time.

          • The point of pricing is to to drive people away from PT, it is to manage demand. The general approach with pricing is to aim for a charge that results in an average occupancy of 90% or so. This means two things:
            -The carpark is still more or less full, so no impact on PT numbers, people aren’t driving instead (or if they are, others are taking their place)
            -the carpark usually has a few spots available at any given time, so that people who want to park and ride for the first time have the option, as so people who are caught out and need to make a last minute trip.

            So in short, pricing to the point you get almost but not quite full increases utilisation and PT use. Like in Calgary, they started pricing and more people used it.

        • Stu Donovan

          P&R is simply a part of the PT system and should be priced in a way that maximises the productivity of the overall system.

          Sometimes P&R will be free, sometimes not. Fail to see why it’s a big issue.

          Unless your advocating that *all* PT should be free?

        • No the point is that any car journey is a loss to society and we should be discouraging any car journey (http://grist.org/list/one-mile-on-a-bike-is-a-42-economic-gain-to-society-one-mile-driving-is-a-20-loss/). Adding to the already massive subsidy to driving on local roads that comes out of my taxes and rates makes no sense on the basis of economic or health outcomes. Parking should be charged for to recover some small part of that subsidy, just as we have fares on PT.

          By the same token, charging for walking or cycling (as the SkyPath is unfortunately required to do because of myopic transport policy) is revenue gathering from people who are already making a financial and health contribution to NZ.

          • conan

            $100m on potentially free park and ride versus $23m on tolled walking across the bridge. This city is crazy.

          • bbc

            and $10 million a year on a couple of painted cycle lanes, most of that cycling budget appears to go to engineers.

          • “No the point is that any car journey is a loss to society and we should be discouraging any car journey”

            You need to accept that in Auckland cars will always be a necessity for most, especially the typical park ‘n ride user, who lives off the PT network, or needs to cover multiple destinations such as dropping the kids off at kindy before going to work. Not even the most ambitious PT ideas for Auckland include putting frequent buses down every rural road or enable multiple destination trips in the suburbs that can be done quickly and easy like a car does. Stick with real-world solutions, not lala land ones.

          • Nik

            I choose not to believe that cars will be a necessity for most. Having lived and worked in several large cities globally, I don’t see the need to own a car as long as i can achieve the things I need through other means.

            If half of the new residents (some will be children and probably won’t have cars) in Auckland in the next 25 years had cars, how possible would it be to drive to where you are going ? The infrastructure costs have the potential to make the investment required for the CRL seem small, if we were to add the time costs of travel, what would the true cost to society be?

            I understand that not everyone believes in transit or in transit oriented development, which is evident through the objections within the Unitary Plan process. The ability to live where you want and have the transport options you want is the individuals choice and I doubt anyone involved with or reading this blog would want to take that away.

            I think the point of this blog entry is about removing barriers in order to get people to consider public transport as a more viable option, freeing up the choice for as many as possible.

  • Rob Mayo

    Some short-distance footpath to station link quick wins:

    1. Footpath linking Lim’s Supermarket on New North Road, along the rail corridor to the Mt Albert Station NNR access path.

    2. Widen the footpath from the Sturges Road up main platform through to Neta Grove.

    3. Footpath along the very short section of rail corridor between Church St rail crossing and Captain Springs Road rail crossing into Te Papapa Station (at the back of the small reserve behind the public toilet block). Many people already use that path along the grass there – is a worn ‘track’. Needs concreting to make it a formal path.

    4. Footpath link along rail corridor between Meadowbank Station carpark and the reserve situated between Kapua Street, Tahape Cres and Mamaku Street.

    5. Paths on either side of the rail corridor at Papatoetoe Station linking the station to Spring Street on the up main and Woolfield Road on the down main. Could put in a link path from Jennifer Place to the down main path.

    6. Path at Homai on the down main running along the back of the shops from the station Park n Ride, to the back entrance of the Indian Temple next door at 16 Dalgety Drive.

    7. Extend the footpath between Taka Street and Takanini Station on the up main – from Maru Road through to Manuroa Road. Put in a path on the down main linking Manuroa Road to the station and Taka Street.

    8. Footpath from the Margaret Road Reserve, under the Clevedon Road bridge to the Ron Keat Drive side of Papakura Station.

  • wayne

    This also applies to improving bus route times. Ask any regular bus user and they can tell you exactly the points where a bus is held up. Before I gave up on buses and switched to cycle, I wrote in a number of times with how to improve my bus route. The reply was always that it would impede car flow. The one that really made my blood boil was being told there was no congestion at the point I was complaining about. Despite having told them the time it happen, this was before they started work and they had gone there later. So I suspect most of these small improvements will get the same treatment.

  • Luke C

    A slightly more expensive link to increase catchment of Orakei station would be from Ngaio St, down through the Pony club land. Would come out near Kepa Road/Orakei Road roundabout. This roundabout awful for pedestrians so would need to be improved as well. Would be 10 minute walk, but would mean people who have very poor PT access (with little potential for improvement given messy street network) could have great PT. Would also be shared path, which would increase Orakei station cycle catchment to the whole area around the headland, all along Coates Ave.

    • nonsense

      Definitely. Also there are no crossings on Kepa Rd, The walk from Coates Ave down to the station takes forever and it’s dangerous.

  • justintohugs

    Not to do with direct train station access but is a good pedestrian/bike link that is missing in the middle of Mt Albert and would make living better – there should be a footpath running between Mt Albert grammar and the school farm linking Alexis/Alberton Ave with Fregusson Ave/reserve. Currently you have to walk down to the cycle way and all the way around tripling the distance. Up until a couple or so years ago you could walk straight through but the school seems to have got pissy and put up no access signs and a gate near the reserve that is locked outside of school hours. Surely it wouldn’t be too hard to install a separated fenced path between the school and farm. Then the rest of Mt Albert/Auckland residents could enjoy better access through the suburb and the great amenity of the farm itself.

  • Bryce P

    Another problem I’ve come across in Auckland is that there is AC Parks land, AC land and AT land and trying to get them all to talk is like getting my cat to snuggle up to a dog.

  • Tamaki

    What about access to fruit vale from the south side of the station?

    • Yes there are some improvements needed there too, in one case the developer even built (or planners required) a walkway up to the rail boundary clearly with the intention of that being connected to the station alongside the tracks
      http://goo.gl/maps/FpkmQ

      • That walkway was from The Close in Arawa Street. It’s still there, but fenced off. AT seems to think it’s not possible to have walk and cycleways in the rail corridor, even though it’s done in various other parts of the country. I suspect it’s more a problem of bureaucracy than legislation.

  • Riccardo

    If you all want some homework is one of the most comprehensive ped analysis i have seen. Three underground stations in the Macquarie corridor in Sydney. The local council gets it. If the land becomes penetrable and legible along desire lines with public transport access, the land can all be classified as high density with high rises put up, increasing its value.

    Exising situation – great maps!
    http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/_Documents/Dev-Macquarie+Park/Space+Syntax+Study+-+S03.pdf

    Plans for improvement

    http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/_Documents/PlansProceduresGuidelines/MacPark+Pedestrian+Access+Mobility+Plan.pdf

  • Ted E

    S few years ago on my first visit to the USA traveling by Greyhound. I was in Albany and taxi’d to our Motel and wanted to go out on foot to the nearby shopping centre which was across a large 4 lane intersection in both directions with traffic lights. i walked to the intersection and could not find any way to interrupt the light system for pedestrian. In the end I went to a nearby restaurant and asked how do you cross the road? A young waitress took me by the hand and led me across. She said that the traffic had to give way to the pedestrians at an intersection. Well while it was against my better judgement I crossed the other street on my own and returned by just waiting for a gap and stepping into the road and the cars all seemed to give way to me. It appeared to me from what the young lady said that all traffic had to give way to pedestrians at intersections. Is that correct? If it could work in the USA then could it work here? Granted it seemed to be a very foolish/dangerous way of living.

    • Steve D

      The law’s slightly different in different states, but that’s the general rule: pedestrians have right of way at intersections unless there’s signs or special pedestrian lights, and cars have right of way outside of intersections. On the other hand, in some circumstances, crossing outside of intersections or marked crosswalks is jaywalking, and from time to time people are ticketed for that. When I’ve been there, I didn’t see any drivers fail to follow the rule – then again, outside downtowns, you don’t really see a lot of pedestrians at all :-/

      Most first world countries have similar laws, at least when it comes to turning traffic.

      I don’t know whether that rule itself is “dangerous” – the US has plenty of other problems with walking, not least road design that’s even worse than here. But their pedestrian death rate (per capita) is about twice as high as ours.

      I’d certainly like to see a radical increase in pedestrian priority, but I think it’d be best to do that in a way that’s not going to rely so much on the impossible task of “educating” drivers:

      * paint zebra crossings across the entrances to side streets (should be 97% of them, not 0.1% like it is now).
      * zebra crossings across slip lanes.
      * faster pedestrian phases, including double-phased Barnes dances at major intersections
      * install all the many missing crossing legs
      * make sure that pedestrian lights always go green when the traffic’s stopped! Many one-way streets or streets with slip lanes display a red man even when there’s no legal vehicle movement that could conflict.

      Additionally, this is something local councils can do all by themselves, rather than having to get a law change.

      Zebra crossings seem like one of the most dramatic wins. At least in my experience, New Zealand drivers almost always obey them. Certainly more often than they indicate, follow the speed limit, stop at red lights, stop at stop signs, give way in filter turns, give way entering driveways (!), keep safe following distances, avoid blocking intersections, etc, etc, etc.

  • john smith

    In the Australian road rules –
    1. At an intersection without traffic lights a pedestrian has priority when crossing a free left slip lane (72(4)(b), 73(3)(b)) [and as a matter of practice almost all free left slip lanes have zebra crossings marked].
    2. At an intersection without traffic lights a pedestrian has priority against a vehicle that is turning left or right into the road that the pedestrian is crossing (72(3)(b), 72(5)(c), 73 (2)(b) )
    3. At an intersection with traffic lights, 2 also applies unless there is a pedestrian indicator and it is showing a red man (62(1)(a), 231(2) ). This allows you to cross where there are traffic lights but no green man.

    Points 2 & 3 seem to correspond to the US laws that Ted E described. However they are little known and I have rarely seen a pedestrian try to assert their right. I wouldn’t.

    See http://www.ntc.gov.au/ViewPage.aspx?documentid=00794 These are model rules, that is, recommendations – I’m not sure whether they have been taken into the law of the states and territories in exactly this form.

    There doesn’t seem to be anythinig comparable in NZ law. I assume the relevant law is the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004. I assume that that is what underpins the boiled down plain English version at http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/roadcode/

    The boiled down version has hardly any reference to pedestrians, which is very poor. [1] Also, amazingly, the website doesn’t seem to have any link back to the law on which it is based.

    [1] Just one almost unintelligible reference to ‘any road user on a footpath’ at http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/roadcode/about-driving/the-give-way-rules.html

    • john smith

      Sorry, amend the above:
      1. At any intersection a pedestrian has priority when crossing a free left slip lane (62(1)(a), 69(2A)(b), 72(4)(b), 73(3)(b)) – I think – rule 62 is a little ambiguous about how this applies at intersections with traffics lights.

    • Steve D

      2 and 3 apply in theory in New Zealand, as well, but you rarely see anyone try it. Most intersections in Auckland control left and right turns with red arrows when there’s a pedestrian phase, or have the pedestrian phase start a few seconds before the cars get a green light, so pedestrians are already in the road before cars can slip in front of them.

      Many intersections even have a sign like “turning traffic give way to pedestrians”, which should really be “turning traffic ALWAYS gives way to pedestrians”.

      New Zealand doesn’t have a “road code” for pedestrians, which in a sense is a good thing – would you want to live anywhere with such complex rules you need a book to walk down the street? But it’s also not really needed, since apart from red lights and zebra crossings, everyone follows the de facto rule of cars first, always.

  • A ‘road user on a footpath’ Hahahahahahahahaha, priceless; as close as Motordom gets to describing a human being failing to be in a vehicle. A sort of fall from grace, a failed state.

    Thanks John.

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