Avondale's new train station is a big hit. But there is one small snag, say commuters.
Where should they leave their cars? Joanna Davies investigates.
As the arrival time nears, more and more people gather along the edge of the platform to wait for the train to Britomart.
Since Avondale's new station opened in June last year, more and more local people are catching trains, and more and more cars are parked on the surrounding streets.
Commuter Lisa Truttman says land near the station needs to be considered for a park-and-ride.
"All of the people I've spoken to since the new station opened have said how wonderful the new station is, but they all ask why a park-and-ride wasn't included. By the amount of cars parked through here you can tell the train is really popular, but the traffic is very heavy around Avondale Primary School and the medical centre at the end of Layard St," she says. "There really is a need for a park-and-ride service. Avondale has a deficiency of car parks and it's just going to get worse as more people take the trains."
Whau Local Board is pressing Auckland Transport to look into the matter and to consider a patch of empty land beside the station for a park-and-ride facility.
Board chair Derek Battersby wants the land leased from Ontrack and KiwiRail.
"It is currently being used for storage for electrification equipment," says Mr Battersby. "But when it is not needed for storage, the land will be re-leased and we'd like it to be a park-and-ride, rather than going to a commercial operation."
He says the need for car parks will grow only as more people catch trains.
"People are just parking along all of the side streets and taking parking from residents. At the moment, we are still very much a car society. Maybe in 15 years we will have a fabulous transport system that will take you from your front door to the train station but, until then, we need a park-and-ride."
Ontrack's spokeswoman, Jenni Austen, says the land is being used for work on Auckland rail projects.
"Once it is no longer required for that purpose we would be looking for other leasing options for it. Our mandate is to make a commercial return from our landholdings," she says.
Whau Local Board has resolved to direct Auckland Transport to look into the land being used.
Ms Hunter says the concept is still at a very early stage. "We are looking into this and will have some more information in around a month."
Off the rails
Over the next three months, maintenance will take place over the Auckland
network. Some services will close temporarily.
May 14-15 Southern Line: closed from Papakura to Otahuhu
June 4-6 Queen's Birthday Weekend: full network closure
June 18-19 Southern Line: closed from Papakura to Otahuhu
July 16-17 Southern Line: closed from Papakura to Otahuhu
These closures are not yet finalised and may change. See: www.maxx.co.nz for more info.