Auckland Transport have announced that they’d received consent for the Newmarket Crossing project which should also mean they can start getting on with the Parnell Station.
AT has received approval from independent planning commissioners for the construction of a bridge to replace Sarawia Street level crossing. AT has 30 working days to review and formally accept the recommendation.
AT sought consent for this last year and the bridge that will link Cowie St in Newmarket with Laxon Tce allowing for the Sarawia St level crossing to be closed.
The crossing needs to be closed as AT/Kiwirail say its proximity to the Newmarket Junction and rail safety procedures limit capacity and flexibility on the line between Newmarket and Britomart. AT have also said in the past that getting the level crossing closed is required before the Parnell Station can be opened.
In a tweet earlier today they suggested that with the consent issued they will start construction on the project later this year.
Independent commissioners approved bridge replacing Sarawia St level xing. Construction start expected late-2016 https://t.co/gX1kSWYSRY ^JM
— Auckland Transport (@AklTransport) June 20, 2016
Of course that would assume there is no environment court appeal and given the attitude of some of the residents so far, I wouldn’t rule that out.
On the Parnell station, the platforms were completed last year but the station is waiting for Kiwirail to move the old Newmarket station building to the site as it was intended to be part of a faux heritage precinct but that’s now been scuttled after the Mainline Steam sheds were demolished to make way for a retirement village – although that’s better than an earlier suggestion for the site of bus parking. It also needs other station features like lights, signs and hopefully some shelter on the side opposite the old building.
Another thing missing and that so far AT have no intention of providing is some way convenient to get across the tracks. If the station gets developed as AT say on their website, the only option will be a minimum 230m detour up to the existing underpass although if you were coming from the proposed access to Nicolas Lane it will be about double that.
Of course pretty everything about the planning for the Parnell station has been wrong. It should have been a few hundred metres further north with access from the end of Heather St which is closer to where more people live or are going for work or education along with an easier walk to Parnell. A few hundred metres can make quite a lot of difference, just look at the impact of Grafton Station compared to its predecessor of Boston Rd.
Lastly we’re hearing suggestions that only Southern Line trains will stop at Parnell although this hasn’t been confirmed. Based on discussions I’ve had in the past I assume this relates to modelling showing that if all trains stopped there it would have severe impacts on rail capacity and reliability.