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Council To Protect Corridor For Rapid Transit

MEDIA RELEASE

6 November 2002

Council Looks To Protect Corridor For Rapid Transit Future

Auckland City is looking to the future to protect an option to create a rail link from Avondale to Southdown.

The council’s transport committee today agreed to transfer several parcels of land within parts of the Avondale-Southdown corridor to Transit New Zealand. Transit requires the land as part of the State Highway 20 extensions at Mt Roskill.

But the committee, which supports the progress on SH20, added the rider that the land only be transferred once various parties are satisfied that “adequate provision has been made for the future development of the Avondale-Southdown line for both freight and passenger rail transport.”

The groups to be consulted include Auckland Regional Transport Network Ltd (ARTNL) the region’s rail and ferry infrastructure company, the Auckland Regional Council, New Zealand Railways Corporation and the council’s transport planning officers.

The chairman of the committee, Councillor Greg McKeown, says while it is important to secure land to allow the state highway extension to proceed, it is crucial that rail interests be protected for both conventional rail and potential rapid transit services..

He says currently the region’s rail corridors are essentially ‘radial,’ stretching from the CBD to Manukau and from the CBD to Waitakere.

“However, the development of the line from Avondale to Southdown would create an outer rail loop on the isthmus and also a more direct link between Manukau and Waitakere,” says Councillor McKeown.

“It would link people to important employment areas in Mt Roskill, Penrose and Onehunga, creating opportunities that could provide significant economic benefits to the Auckland region.”

Councillor McKeown says with a $204 million investment in the Britomart Transport Centre, plans to upgrade existing rail corridors at around $200 million, and proposals to buy new rolling stock, it was crucial that the potential to maximise rail opportunities within the city be protected.

He says that the Avondale-Southdown line has been a designated route for rail for many years, it is timely to double check that all agencies concerned were happy, at a reasonably detailed level, with the plans for the parts of the proposed line running close to SH20.

“None of this is new, and is all part of taking an integrated ‘completing the networks’ approach,” he says.

Councillor McKeown says that investigations into future freight requirements, the need to double-track the line for future rapid transit, station placement, related land use opportunities, and how an Avondale-Southdown rail link would impact on other freight-passenger corridors should all continue.

The committee agreed with Councillor McKeown’s recommendation to consult with other interested parties to ensure future rail provision is adequately catered for.

Ends

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