After another unfortunate incident at Morningside Level Crossing, once again questions have been asked of our level crossings. Morningside Level Crossing alongside Walters Rd in Takanini have achieved a sense of infamy over the years, some incidents have been covered below in the media, and as anyone who with any HSEQ background will know for each Incident there will be countless more Near Misses.
This post will look into the feasibility of closing Morningside Level Crossing to traffic, however still creating grade separated access for pedestrians/cyclists to the station on each side of Morningside Drive, understanding in tight budgetary circumstances that fully grade separating the crossing for all modes may not be feasible.
The area in question is below
Removal of the Level Crossing to traffic would hinder three major groups, each which could be mitigated
- Users trying to access St Luke’s Mall via Car.
- Bus Users for routes 220, 221, 222, 223, & 224 some who may use the service for access to St Luke’s Mall.
- Residents who use Morningside Drive Level Crossing to Access New North Road.
Users trying to access St Luke’s Mall via Car
The closure of Morningside Drive may not adversely effect these users, at current St Luke’s is also accessible by two parallel major arterial routes, St Luke’s Mall via St Luke’s Road & New North Road, as well as St Luke’s Mall via St Luke’s Road & Sandringham Road.
Bus Users for routes 220, 221, 222, 223, & 224 some who may use the service for access to St Lukes Mall
Under the New Network these routes have been simplified into 1 the 22, this service could easily diverted down New North Road which is better placed to have Bus Lanes due to its 2 Lane-Flush Median-2 Lane layout & according to AT documents have planned Bus Lanes as part of the Central New Network.
The users wanting to access St Lukes Mall will at glance lose out from doing this of course, however would they? The New Network suggests not, under the New Network 22 users have the ability to transfer onto 1 of 3 Services heading to/past St Luke’s Shopping Centre, these are the Outer Link, 202, & Crosstown 6. Both Peak & Off Peak these services have the aggregate of 10BPH each way, therefore someone transferring at New North Road from a 22 service would have a wait maximum of 6m, or on average around 3m for a transfer, with Simpler Fares now in place transfers no financial penalty exists.
Also in the New Network, the old 233 which is now the 24 no longer goes past St Lukes Mall at all. So in conclusion Bus Users wanting to get to St Luke’s Mall may not be worse off due to more likely Bus Lanes speeding up travel times as well as not being subject to delays at the level crossing which will only worsen when the CRL is completed and train frequencies increase further. Users of the 22 not intending to go to St Luke’s Mall will also benefit greatly due to not having to divert via St Luke’s.
Residents who use Morningside Drive Level Crossing to Access New North Road
These residents may also not be to impacted due to being able to access New North Road via Sainsbury, or having 4 local routes to access Sandringham Road as can be seen by the map of the area above.
So in final conclusion, it would be feasible to close one of Auckland’s most infamous crossings to traffic due to other options existing, as well as the New Network having sufficient services to transfer to if the 22 was changed to follow North New Road instead of Morningside Drive.
What do you think?