Sta­tion halt gets mixed re­ac­tions City Mis­sion

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By KA­RINA ABADIA

Sev­eral busi­ness own­ers on Up­per Sy­monds St are crit­i­cal of plans to take a City Rail Link sta­tion out of the area.

Auck­land Coun­cil has de­cided to up­grade Mt Eden sta­tion in­stead of build­ing the New­ton one. This move will save more than $150 mil­lion, min­imise con­struc­tion dis­rup­tion and re­duce the num­ber of prop­er­ties that need to be bought ( Auck­land City Har­bour News, Au­gust 6).

Ariel Books owner Ron Har­cus says it’s dis­ap­point­ing.

It’s a fair hike up to Sy­monds St and peo­ple are hill-averse. The New­ton sta­tion would’ve been more cen­trally lo­cated and ac­ces­si­ble for the three ad­join­ing sub­urbs of New­ton, Eden Tce and Grafton, he says.

‘‘The short-term gain is a big sav­ing on the bud­get, but long term it may prove to be just that, a short­term gain which fails to ad­dress the needs of the area.’’

Kite­works man­ager Per­rin Mel­chior says the sta­tion swap didn’t come as a com­plete sur­prise.

‘‘I al­ways had a lin­ger­ing feel­ing that a train sta­tion that was 40 me­tres un­der­ground might not be so prac­ti­cal. But talk­ing to peo­ple who’ve been to Lon­don and New York, they say that’s not an is­sue at all.’’

It’s mucked a lot of peo­ple around and Up­per Sy­monds St is un­likely to ben­e­fit from the up­graded Mt Eden sta­tion, he says.

Sy­monds St Dryclean­ers owner John Lines says busi­ness own­ers on the strip have put up with a lot of roading changes over the years.

‘‘They’ve chopped and changed the cor­ner [of Sy­monds St and Khy­ber Pass Rd] to try to keep the traf­fic mov­ing. It’s never worked be­cause they’ve un­der­es­ti­mated the huge in­crease of traf­fic on the roads.

‘‘Even­tu­ally the rail link is go­ing to come and hope­fully it does im­prove the traf­fic flows be­cause it’ll re­duce the amount of cars.’’

But Lines would have pre­ferred the sta­tion re­mained in New­ton. ‘‘It would’ve drawn peo­ple to our area and we need the foot traf­fic.’’

Bike Barn man­ager Richard Clark ac­cepts the de­ci­sion.

‘‘I don’t think it would have been a ma­jor ben­e­fit for Up­per Sy­monds St. The amount of con­struc­tion needed would have been detri­men­tal to start with.

‘‘Maybe long term we would have ben­e­fited, but time will tell.’’

Uptown Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion gen- eral man­ager Gary Holmes says the as­so­ci­a­tion has to make the best of the sit­u­a­tion.

One good thing is the area by the Mt Eden sta­tion is go­ing to be cleared for con­struc­tion and it will act as a cat­a­lyst for re­de­vel­op­ment, he says.

The dis­ad­van­tage is that Sy­monds St is a 400 me­tre walk up the hill.

‘‘We will work closely with the coun­cil and Auck­land Trans­port to make sure the road link­ages are strong and en­cour­age peo­ple to go up that way.’’

Horse & Trap bar owner Ja­son Tupuhi says it’s only go­ing to ben­e­fit his busi­ness.

‘‘There will be a few more peo­ple around the area and that sta­tion’s go­ing to be newer, which is go­ing to make more peo­ple want to use it.’’

Pa­trick Reynolds, an edi­tor of trans­port­blog, says over­all he agrees with the de­ci­sion.

‘‘The dis­ad­van­tages are mi­nor and it makes the project re­al­is­able sooner. There’s a small loss of ser­vice flex­i­bil­ity, but it will mean a faster jour­ney time on the south­ern line,’’ he says.

‘‘The ben­e­fits are more about the en­tire net­work and the whole shape of the city than sim­ply about the ar­eas around the sta­tion.’’ Auck­land City Toy­ota is part­ner­ing with the Auck­land City Mis­sion for their Win­ter Ap­peal. Any­one who makes a do­na­tion of canned, non­per­ish­able food at the dealership will re­ceive a $10 War­rant of Fit­ness voucher. For those who road-test a ve­hi­cle when they drop off their do­na­tion, Auck­land City Toy­ota will do­nate $15 to the Win­ter Ap­peal. Con­tact the dealership on 378 9919 for more in­for­ma­tion. The Mis­sion is al­most at its goal of $250,000 to sup­port strug­gling Auck­lan­ders dur­ing the win­ter. About $50,000 is still needed to feed hun­gry fam­i­lies, pro­vide med­i­cal check-ups and de­liver hot drinks for the home­less. To do­nate go to auck­land­c­i­tymis­ or phone 303 9200.

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