Bikes and Public Transport, Glen Innes and New Lynn

The Urban Cycleway Fund programme is primarily funding a number of specific routes but in and around the city centre however two of the projects we’re individual routes but about improving and entire area so that it is easier to use a bike to access public transport. This is important as bikes and PT each act as multipliers for each other. These areas were earmarked for Glen Innes and New Lynn as shown on the map below.

Auckland urbancycleways map 2015-18

Back in October, Auckland Transport consulted on the Glen Innes area, asking people to mark out on a map where they have comments. It was the first time they’d tried consultation that way. The results of that consultation are now in.

AT say they received 293 responses although only 33 came from the online tool and the rest from paper forms. Those responses contained 1070 issues, barriers or concerns and the common themes were

  • Intersection/roundabout dangerous (199 comments)
  • Parked vehicles/ narrow road (174 comments)
  • Road/route dangerous/ difficult for cyclists – general (136 comments)
  • Busy/ chaotic traffic road (121 comments)
  • High vehicle speed (95 comments)
  • Other cyclist concerns (103 comments)
  • Improvements suggested (82 comments)
  • Signals/ crossings (70 comments)
  • Poor quality road/ path surface (49 comments)
  • Bicycle security/ parking required (44 comments)
  • Shared path concerns (23 comments)
  • Vehicles pass too close (20 comments)
  • Improve signage (9 comments)

The map below shows where specific routes or barriers were mentioned and how frequently they were.

Glen Innes Consultation Results - details

And here is the cycle network for the area that AT have come up with as a result of that feedback although funding is only covering the Glen Innes bits.

Glen Innes Consultation Results - final map

Having a cycle network on a map is now thing and so AT say the next steps further consultation as the specific routes are further developed.

AT have also started work on the other of those Links to PT at New Lynn and have launched a similar consultation to what happened in Glen Innes. As well as linking to public transport it should also help with links to the recently consulted on New Lynn to Avondale cycleway and the more recreational Te Whau Pathway

Clark-Rankin intersection - impression

The map below is the area they are looking at and AT want to know:

  • Key routes you want to use when cycling to New Lynn and Avondale stations from the surrounding suburbs.
  • Other key cycling routes in the area, such as those that connect with town centres, shops, schools, parks, and other community facilities.
  • Any specific issues you would like to see addressed (eg any concerns that put you off cycling in the area, such as high traffic speeds, difficult intersections or lack of cycle parking).
  • Other ways to make it easier to cycle in the area.

New Lynn Consultation Map

New Lynn is already the third busiest station on the rail network behind Britomart and Newmarket and improving access to it should only help in making even more popular.

Feedback is open until Friday, 24 June 2016 and there are a couple of public events people can a

New Lynn to Avondale Path Consultation

Auckland Transport have started consultation on another of their major cycleway projects, the New Lynn to Avondale Shared Path. This 2.9km route will link in the Waterview Shared Path now under construction through to Avondale largely alongside the rail line. The project is expected to cost $17.7 million and was included in the Urban Cycle Funding package announced by the government last year.

As part of the project a new bridge will be built over the Whau River next to the rail bridge.

Whau River Bridge Impression

On the Bridge and Whau River, AT say

In the past Maori used the Whau River as a portage route between the Manukau and Waitemata Harbours.

Iwi have chosen imagery for the path and the bridge, promoting the importance to the local area of traditional waka portage and harvesting activities along the Whau River and the migration of the kuaka (godwit).

These images will be portrayed in various ways on the bridge and along the path. There will be patterns within the concrete on the bridge structure. In addition, images will be cut out of a metal panel which will run across the bridge, screening it from the adjacent rail bridge.

The high level route is shown below

New Lynn to Avondale Path route

Here’s what AT say about the route

Features

The shared path will:

  • Start at Rankin Avenue in New Lynn and finish east of the Blockhouse Bay Road/Rosebank Road/Trent Street intersection in Avondale. Gaps in the existing shared path between Rankin Avenue and Portage Road will be filled with new sections of shared path.
  • Be 2.9 kilometres long.
  • Be mostly off-road within the rail corridor, with a section through Chalmers Reserve in Avondale.
  • Create a continuous shared path linking New Lynn Train Station, Avondale Train Station, Waterview Shared Path (currently under construction), the Northwestern cycleway and city centre networks.
  • Connect with the proposed Te Whau Pathway and other local walking and cycling routes.
  • Have access points at road crossings including Portage Road, Arran Street, St Georges Road, Chalmers Street, St Jude Street and Blockhouse Bay Road.
  • Cross the Whau River on a new purpose-built bridge (which will stand alongside the existing rail bridge). The Whau Local Board has provided significant funding for this bridge.
  • Be fenced off from the railway line and neighbouring properties.
  • Be well lit and designed to promote safety for users and neighbours of the path.

Benefits

  • A safer, more appealing route for pedestrians and people on bikes.
  • Easier access to local train stations and town centres.
  • New landscaping and improved visual appearance of public spaces.
  • New wayfinding signage.
  • New cycle parking.

Timeline

Construction of the bridge is proposed to take place in late 2016, with the aim to start construction of the shared path in 2017.

There are more detailed maps here (9MB) showing just where the path will go with one of the challenging aspects seeming to be at the Avondale Train Station where the path will go along the back of it. There are a number of other pinch points along the route too.

New Lynn to Avondale Path route - Avondal Station

The consultation will run till 15 May and AT will also have people to talk to at the New Lynn Night Markets in a few weeks

New Lynn Night Market.
When: Thursday 5 May 2016.
Time: 6pm to 9pm.
Where: New Lynn Community Centre, 45 Totara Avenue, New Lynn.

Photo of the Day: Station Platform

The platform at the New Lynn Train Station

And a close up of the wall panels, I’ve mentioned before how I love the way the dust from the trains has changed the work and make it appear more natural

Photos are credited to oh.yes.melbourne

Apartment building on the rise

I’ve talked before about how it feels like the city is about to burst back to life with construction activity with so many apartment buildings being proposed all over the place.  A few weeks ago we launched a page to keep track of them all but most are still only in a proposal stage and not actually under construction. But some are and what is probably the first new tower to be built since the GFC is now well under way at New Lynn. Here are a couple of shots of it under construction. The rust covered building it is being built on top of is a multi -storey carpark that is being managed by Auckland Transport. The train station is on the other side of the building.

New Lynn Apartment construction 1

New Lynn Apartment construction 2

This is really going to transform New Lynn as it rises. However interestingly it appears the developers are now selling a second stage that will use the rest of the space above the carpark for what appear to be a series of town houses.

Merchant Quarter Stage 2

I must say it seems really odd having town houses perched up in the air above a carpark. Hopefully though both parts of the development will fill up as from walking around New Lynn the one thing the place really needs is some people. A lot of money has been put into improving public space for pedestrians but at the moment it’s so empty just doesn’t work For example there are two shared spaces but due to the lack of people, cars are using them as rat runs and racing down them doing 60km/h despite tens of millions having been spent to build a new roads to bypass the town centre.

In the CBD another recent development to add to the list is the Fiore II. It is being built above the Wong Doo building on the corner of Hobson St and Cook St as shown below (with the Fiore I building behind it).

Fiore II location

Wong Doo building next to the traffic sewer of Hobson St

However due to the heritage status of the Wong Doo building, it can’t be demolished and so the developer is basically building over the top of it in a way I think look hideous with big square boxes dominating over the historic building.

Fiore II design

Perhaps it’s just a really bad image of what is proposed and the finished product will look better – but then it is on the their website.

Photo of the day – New Lynn Brick Art

Brick artwork around New Lynn recognising the areas history in brick making

Brick Seat

Brick Art

Brick House

Are all “Metropolitan Centres” created equal?

The Auckland Plan’s development strategy highlighted 10 metropolitan centres across Auckland: Albany (emerging), Takapuna, Westgate (emerging), Henderson, New Lynn, Newmarket, Sylvia Park (emerging), Botany (emerging), Manukau and Papakura. They’re shown on the Auckland Plan map below:

metro-centresThe Unitary Plan’s job is to give effect to the Auckland Plan, so each centre has effectively become a “zone” – with rules applied to those centres. If we look at New Lynn, for example, we can see that it’s actually just the “core” part of the centre (the pink/purple striped area) which is given that zone – the same thing is repeated across all the metropolitan centres:newlynn-zoningWhile in places like New Lynn the 18 storey height limit seems pretty appropriate, and it’s a sensible limit as development of around that height is currently proposed, I think it’s a valid question as to whether this somewhat arbitrary number makes sense across each and every one of the ten metropolitan centres.

For example, in Takapuna and Newmarket 18 levels seems potentially a bit too limiting – both are places where you could have market demand for higher, where in some selected locations higher buildings might be appropriate and are also very well developed centres in terms of the existing amenities available. At the other end of the scale, in places like Papakura, Botany or Westgate, 18 levels seems light-years away from what’s likely to occur in these areas for quite a long time and would be extremely different to what’s in those locations at the moment.

Furthermore, I think it’s also questionable whether the entire centre should have the same height limit. If we look at somewhere like Takapuna, there’s part of the Metropolitan Centre zone which is pretty close to the beach – where it might be desirable to have a lower height limit and avoid the buildings shading the beach in the afternoon sun, but then areas further to the west where higher limits than 18 levels would be appropriate:takapuna-zoningWhat seems to potentially be behind a bit of the angst over the Unitary Plan at the moment is a feeling that it’s a little bit too “one size fits all” in its approach – not quite nuanced enough to take into consideration the often subtle variations across different parts of Auckland. Of course there are advantages that come out of a greater level of simplicity and uniformity in terms of making the planning documents easier to understand, plus a more consistent planning framework across Auckland is one of the key drivers behind the Unitary Plan replacing the myriad of old plans.

But overall it does seem that perhaps this drive for simplicity has perhaps gone a bit too far. Takapuna and Newmarket do seem fundamentally different to Botany or Papakura – and perhaps always will be. Similarly, some bits of the Metropolitan Centres seem like they’re likely to be suitable for greater levels of intensity than other parts. A more nuanced approach doesn’t necessarily mean winding back on the proposed zoning of the Unitary Plan – it might well mean greater levels of intensity are possible in places like Newmarket and the western parts of Takapuna, to balance out lower levels elsewhere. Because ultimately I don’t think all Metropolitan Centres are created equal in terms of their suitability for growth, just as not all areas within each centre is equally suitable.

To clean or not to clean?

Keeping our train and bus stations clean and tidy is an important part in ensuring that we provide a pleasant environment for passengers. To their credit, Auckland Transport seems to manage this fairly well and I can’t really think of a situation where I have thought a station looks bad in this regard. In saying this there is one station on the network where not everything has been kept clean, yet interestingly I think this actually enhances it.

The station is New Lynn and let me explain why. The station was started back in the days of the Waitakere City council and they had a policy of including art works in every major infrastructure project undertaken. There are actually four different pieces of artwork included in the station but the one I want to focus on is the one that most train users see. Within the trench the walls are adorned with concrete panels which feature ripples and indentations which are said to reflect local landscape. Over time dust, which I understand has mainly come from the brakes of our trains, has settled in the groves and on the side of the ridges. It has a very natural feel defining the artwork better and in my view it only serves to enhance it.

Trench Panel

Trench Panel 2

But what do you think? Should it be cleaned down or should we leave it as is?

I was also at New Lynn to have a look at how the development is progressing. Since my last visit in January the new medical centre and carpark buildings have been completed which has seen the hoardings and fences surrounding them come down, and has opened up the final section of McRae Way (which is a shared space).

Here are the new buildings looking at them from McRae Way. I think that this street will really hum once a few more buildings are developed along it, like in the car park to the left of the shot.

McRae Way 1

There is at least one café going in the shops on the ground floor of the new buildings that will hopefully see much more use of this space.

McRae Way 2

Between the buildings a new lane has been created that is also lined with retail space. What I really like is that it is a continuation of the pedestrian crossing that comes straight from the train station.

New Lynn Lane 1

New Lynn Lane 2

On the other side of the building (the train station side), the building continues to be lined with retail. I like just how much space has been created so that those waiting for buses don’t get in the way of pedestrians and there is still enough space for the occupants of the shops to use some of the footpath. One single canopy keeps this all dry.

Bus stop

And here are the completed buildings from the other side.

Completed buildings

All up things are looking good and once the retail stores have been fitted out it will help to bring a real buzz to the place. Construction will also be starting soon on the apartment tower that will go above the carpark building. As mentioned earlier I hope that these developments spur on more in the area. What has been completed so far looks excellent and really helps to give a nice urban feel to the town centre.

http://transportblog.co.nz/2013/04/23/developments-in-newmarket-and-new-lynn-get-the-green-light/

Developments in Newmarket and New Lynn get the green light

There were two big bits of development news yesterday.

The first was that the University of Auckland confirmed that they were buying the former Lion Brewery site in Newmarket as part of their plans to consolidate their operations in the central city. Here is their press release:

The University of Auckland’s plans to acquire the 5.2ha former Lion Breweries site have been given the go-ahead, paving the way for a new campus in Newmarket.

The landmark decision by The University of Auckland Council, effective 31 May 2013, follows a comprehensive due diligence process. The purchase marks the beginning of a long-term development of the site, spanning a 30 year timeframe, to create a mixed use campus, with purpose-built teaching and research facilities, student accommodation, business development and other facilities.

“Without a doubt, this is an exciting and significant development for the University, the Newmarket community and Auckland City,” says Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon. “Our researchers already actively collaborate with industry and the location of the new campus will further enhance our business relationships and benefit the local community.

“The Newmarket Campus will join the City and Grafton campuses to create an integrated campus cluster, supporting long term growth enabling the University to deliver to Auckland and New Zealand the full benefits of a multi-disciplinary, world-ranked research university.”

There is already a comprehensive public transport network of bus and rail routes servicing the area, which will greatly facilitate rapid movement between the three campuses.

Work will begin on demolishing many of the old brewery facilities when the University takes possession of the site in June. The first projects to be undertaken on the Newmarket site will be the total refurbishment of some existing buildings to provide for greatly enhanced engineering research space, and the construction of a new civil structures hall, including a nine metre strong wall (one of the largest in Australasia).

Further developments on the Newmarket campus will be staged as demands for new facilities arise and will be delivered in the context of a framework plan already developed for the site by Jasmax and Architectus Architects; this will ensure the University creates a coherent and pleasant campus environment for its staff, students and visitors.

Professor McCutcheon says “Over time we anticipate relocating activities from the Tamaki and Epsom campuses to the City/Grafton/Newmarket location. The timeframe over which this relocation occurs is yet to be determined, but ultimately this is expected to result in a significant reduction in our total landholdings.”

The comment about the site having strong PT links is interesting and these links will only improve as the CRL is built. It also makes the decision to build an east facing link on the CRL, instead of the inner west interchange a no brainer, something we have discussed before. Further, reading through some of the material regarding the decision, it highlights perfectly that they see huge benefits from agglomeration. This is also one of the key reasons we should be building the CRL.

In 10-15 years when we reached capacity at City and Grafton, we would have had to further split the University to accommodate space requirements. This would have involved either whole faculties, or parts of most faculties, moving to Tāmaki. Both of these options would have limited our ability to achieve the full benefits of a comprehensive integrated research university. The Newmarket campus, by contrast, offers long term growth potential close to the City and Grafton campuses.

The location of the Newmarket campus provides the University with an opportunity to ensure long term integration of our activities across the main campuses.

Initial development Plans for the Newmarket site

The second piece of news comes from New Lynn where the council has granted resource consent for the construction of the Merchant Quarter Condominiums which are located right next to both the train station, Lynnmall and now a medical centre. We have previously covered what is going on in New Lynn, including these apartments here. Here is the press release from the council:

Aucklanders are embracing options being offered in quality, compact and affordable housing as West Auckland’s first high-rise apartment building is given the go-ahead.

Auckland Council has granted resource consent for a 10-storey residential tower above the new Merchant Quarter building in New Lynn – with work expected to start this month.

With prices starting at $250,000, the 110 one and two-bedrooms apartments offer an affordable choice for Aucklanders looking to buy their first home.

“Aucklanders respond rapidly when they are given the opportunity, “ says Mayor Len Brown. “More than half the apartments have already been sold in this building, which offers people affordable options close to great transport links, community facilities, cafes, restaurants and shops.”

“New Lynn is showing the rest of Auckland what a vibrant, compact city can look like, and it’s looking very good indeed. The Merchant Quarter is New Lynn’s new heart where people can live, work, do business, shop and be entertained.”

The apartment complex being built by Tasman Cook will go above the council’s new five- level McCrae Way public carpark building in the new Merchant Quarter.

The carpark will continue to operate during construction because Auckland Council future-proofed it to enable residential development and therefore minimise disruption.

“We expect the rest of the apartments to sell incredibly quickly once construction starts,” says Tasman Cook Director Leonard Ross. “Interest has been very high and once people see the crane on site they’ll want to be in on the action.”

That also means the remaining carpark building’s retail spaces will be snapped up, adds Infratil’s Development General Manager Andrew Lamb. Infratil is the council’s partner in the Merchant Quarter development.

The Merchant Quarter development is part of Auckland Council’s transformation of New Lynn into a vibrant metropolitan centre to deliver the aspirations of the Auckland Plan.

It is also an excellent example of the model and approach for a more compact city detailed in the council’s proposed Unitary Plan.

“New Lynn is Auckland’s poster child for brownfields’ development and shows how inner city living can be created in town centres such as New Lynn,” says Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse.

The New Lynn tower offers panoramic views of New Lynn and the Waitakere Ranges with the west facing apartments proving the most popular with buyers.

The tower builds on a number of projects already delivered in New Lynn including the award-winning transport interchange, the Clark St extension and the Merchant Quarter. As well as the new carpark, the latter features a new medical centre and an upgraded McCrae Way, Auckland’s newest shared space street and New Lynn’s second. Auckland Transport has also upgraded Great North Rd and Delta Ave.

The apartment tower is expected to be finished early next year.

This announcement was covered by both TVNZ and TV3 including an interview with one of the owners to be.

New Lynn Apartments - TVNZ

New Lynn Apartments - TV3

As mentioned in one of the stories, roughly half of the apartments have already been sold. I just happened to be at New Lynn yesterday and while the temporary sales office was closed, I took a photo of the sales board through the window. Each red dot represents a sale.

New Lynn Apartments - Sales Board

There really seems to be a bit of a buzz back in the city about new developments and I get the feeling that things are really about to take off.

Update on New Lynn

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to do to much this week due being roped in to help sort things out for a family members wedding this weekend however in my travels I did manage to stop off at New Lynn for a little look to see how things were progressing in what is one of the major development focuses current around Auckland. I was last there in September. There are two main things going on at the moment, the construction of the medical centre and carpark by Infratil and the upgrades to Gt North Rd.

First up here is some of the progress on the previously mentioned buildings that are going up. For a while I wasn’t sure about the medical centre but now that the glass is mostly in, I think it looks great.

New Lynn Medical Centre

And here is the car park building which has a rusted metal facade which I think looks good.

New Lynn Carparking building

Between the buildings a new pedestrian lane is going in and both buildings will have retail around the ground floor. When finished and the hoardings are removed, there will a lot more space for passengers waiting for buses.

New Lynn new lane

One thing that has changed since I last visited is that Infratil have announced plans to put 10 levels containing 111 apartments on top of that car parking building. Here is a model of it will look like if built and currently 10% of the apartments are sold.

New Lynn Apartments

The other major bit of work going on is the upgrade of Gt North Rd to make it more pedestrian friendly. Here are some pictures of some of the new footpaths and the new speed table being installed.

New Footpath

New Speedtable

Lastly while there I noticed this excellent feature that had been integrated into the New Lynn station itself, a trundler park which means you can wheel your shopping from the nearby mall to the station and only have to carry it the short distance to the train.

Trundler Park

As time goes by, I continue to get a much better feeling that New Lynn will be quite a successful redevelopment. If we can get a few more buildings close by around the 4 story mark I think we will really start to get a great urban centre vibe in the place.

Over the course of this year the blog will start to look at other urban developments that are going on around the city. If you are a developer and want to tell us about your development, my details are on the Contact Us page

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.