By BERNARD ORSMAN
A new $95 million road built above the railway line is among the options to make Newmarket a better place the live.
The road, running from Khyber Pass Rd to St Marks Rd, is designed to take traffic off Broadway. The busy shopping strip carries 34,000 cars a day and the number is growing.
It is one of several roading suggestions in a draft paper on Newmarket's future. The paper will be released in the next week for the public to comment on by the middle of February.
The paper also contains options for high-density housing in the northern streets around the Olympic Pool and handling big mall developments without sucking the life out of Broadway.
Residents and businesses have told the Auckland City Council they want Newmarket to remain Auckland's premier shopping area, to keep the character of the backstreets, better public transport and less through traffic.
With this in mind, council planners have suggested the road-above-rail as an alternative route to Broadway, changing several one-way streets to two-way, a new link connecting Gillies Ave to Broadway and St Marks Rd and an off-ramp from the Southern Motorway to St Marks Rd for traffic from the south. None of these roading projects has funding.
The council has also outlined options to increase the population of Newmarket, which stands at about 6000. Suggestions include:
* Rezoning the north of Newmarket residential 8 for three- and four-storey housing developments.
* Making it easier for developers to build apartments in Newmarket town centre where land prices, and financial contributions, are high.
* Reducing requirements to provide carparks in the town centre to reflect the availability of public transport.
* Extending the work of the central city design urban panel to include large residential developments.
The council would like to improve the streets and parks in Newmarket but has suggested the money come from financial contributions from business developments because it has no money set aside itself.
Other options include a review of protected views to volcanoes from Newmarket to see whether they could be "more targeted".
The president of the Newmarket Protection Society, Robin Bailey, said the draft study was the result of 18 months' good work with the council to make sure Newmarket survived as a big village.
But Mr Bailey said the society was shocked to learn that the key project to build a road over the railway line was under threat by the sale of air rights over the line between Noel Leeming and 88 Broadway.
The buyer of the air rights could, by right, build a reinforced concrete platform over the railway lines and put up a five-storey building.
Mr Bailey said this would "derail" the key solution to congestion in Newmarket and the council should look at securing the air rights.
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