Station halt gets mixed reactions City Mission
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 aucklandcitymission.org.nz or phone 303 9200.