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Safer, Brighter New Rail Station For Papatoetoe


Safer, Brighter New Rail Station On The Way For Papatoetoe

Greater security, better lighting and easy access to the nearby shops are key features of the new design for Papatoetoe railway station, which is being improved alongside an upgrade of the whole Papatoetoe shopping area.

The station is one of the first to be upgraded as part of sweeping improvements to the railway network across the Auckland region, including the building of Britomart in downtown Auckland City which is due to open in 2003. Papatoetoe is one of three "signature stations" that are first to be upgraded. The improvements will be taking place in tandem with changes to the nearby shopping area which the council is undertaking.

The design changes are aimed at producing a safe, secure atmosphere for passengers and a vast improvement over the current station. Security cameras are to be installed and the design plan includes a new, enclosed station building and shelters, a public address system and a help point. The whole station will be well-lit and a new footbridge built to connect with Shirley Road. Surroundings are to be landscaped and there will be warning systems to notify passengers about approaching trains.

The new footbridge will integrate with the changes being made to the public transport hub in Shirley Rd proposed as part of the Papatoetoe Revitalisation Project. The walkway will bring the station entrance closer to St George St as well as continue to link Shirley Rd with Station Rd.

Detailed designs for the station aren't yet complete but the final design is expected to contain distinctive and unique features such as artwork or sculptures, although the overall design theme will be similar to that being used in other stations of the rail network.

Auckland Regional Transport Network Ltd (ARTNL) is responsible for developing and maintaining the new station, with input from Manukau City Council. The council design team working on the Hunter's Corner and Papatoetoe Revitalisation Project are communicating with ARTNL planners to ensure the design principles adopted for the town centre are similar to those used for the station upgrade.

During recent community consultation over how best to revitalise Papatoetoe there was a strong desire voiced for a makeover of the station and to integrate it more into the shopping area. People were also particularly keen to see the creation of a transport hub and an upgrade of the town centres' streets. The council is also proposing a new community park and town square next to the town hall.

Before final designs for the station are decided, local residents will be consulted alongside likely user groups such as the elderly and cyclists.

Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says, "This is part of a huge investment in improving public transport which is now underway alongside planning for the new roads including the Eastern Expressway. In recent years Tranz Rail, which ran the train network, allowed our railway stations to become rundown and shabby and the tracksides were weed-infested and overgrown.

"The public deserve better than that. Now that the region's councils are in control, big improvements are on the way. Passengers will soon be getting a high quality, efficient and effective service with comfortable and modern trains. Once that happens I believe many more people will start using trains and leave their cars at home."

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