Sta­tion picks up new award

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Porirua train sta­tion has re­ceived yet an­other award for its mil­lion­dol­lar up­grade, this time recog­nis­ing its ‘‘ wow’’ ef­fect on pedes­tri­ans.

At its an­nual con­fer­ence, Liv­ing Streets Aotearoa awarded the up­grade project the Golden Foot Award for Best Walk­ing Project, recog­nis­ing a busi­ness or or­gan­i­sa­tion that has made a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence to en­cour­age more walk­ing.

Liv­ing Streets Aotearoa ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber Meg Christie said the un­der­pass has be­come an as­set to the com­mu­nity.

‘‘This was one of those ‘ wow’ projects. What had been a dreary and de­press­ing sub­way has been trans­formed to a great, classy place to walk through.’’

The Welling­ton re­gion’s third busiest sta­tion, Porirua sees nearly 1.5 mil­lion pas­sen­gers hop on and off each year. The sub­way has 300,000 peo­ple pass through it an­nu­ally and the trans­for­ma­tion – 60 floor-to-ceil­ing photo pan­els in­side and 11 mu­rals by Porirua artists lin­ing the ap­proaches – has mayor Nick Leggett singing its praises.

‘‘ The sta­tion has been trans­formed from eye­sore to icon and is a fit­ting in­tro­duc­tion to vis­i­tors of Porirua’s beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, won­der­ful re­laxed out­door life­style and mix of vi­brant cul­tures.’’

He and re­gional coun­cil­lor Bar­bara Don­ald­son had the up­grade as part of their cam­paign plat­forms in the leadup to the 2010 lo­cal body elec­tions.

She says the project is an ex­am­ple of suc­cess­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the re­gional coun­cil, Ki­wirail, Porirua City Coun­cil and the com­mu­nity, and the re­sult has ‘‘ ex­ceeded all my ex­pec­ta­tions’’.

‘‘Be­fore the up­grade, the sta­tion and sub­way were dingy and po­ten­tially un­safe. This trans­for­ma­tion has not only beau­ti­fied the site, it has had other pos­i­tive ef­fects, such as greater pedes­trian use and train use as well. It helps to achieve our aim of im­prov­ing fa­cil­i­ties for pedes­tri­ans, cy­clists and public trans­port pas­sen­gers.’’

The proof has been in the pud­ding, with Ki­wirail re­port­ing sub­stan­tial in­creases in 10-trip, monthly and school term passes, while graf­fiti and main­te­nance costs have fallen. From Jan­uary to Au­gust 2010, graf­fiti re­moval cost more than $18,000, while in 2011 the same pe­riod saw just $430 spent.

Kapiti-mana Po­lice have also re­ported a 46 per cent drop in the num­ber of in­ci­dents re­ported at the sta­tion be­tween 2010 and 2011.

Mr Leggett says the Liv­ing Streets Aotearoa award is great ac­knowl­edge­ment.

‘‘Porirua Rail­way Sta­tion is now a des­ti­na­tion in its own right . . .’’

Han­dle the jan­dal: Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett and re­gional coun­cil­lor Bar­bara Don­ald­son with the Golden Foot Award, recog­nis­ing that the city’s rail­way sta­tion is now more pedes­tri­an­friendly.

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