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Buses above rail idea slows down key upgrade

25 September 2006

Newmarket Business Association

Buses above rail idea slows down key upgrade

"The region's transport officials need to get off cloud cuckoo land and get refocused on upgrading Auckland's second most important rail station and junction," said general manager of the Newmarket Business Association, Cameron Brewer, today.

"We are running out of patience. It is clear officials are completely side-tracked by an untenable proposition that they refuse to let go of."

Mr Brewer says that proposition is to spend many millions on building a busway over the rail corridor from Park Road in Grafton to St Marks Road, lower Remuera as part of the Central Transit Corridor. ARTA and Auckland City Council officials are currently investigating the idea. *

"This is simply ridiculous. It's unworkable and the whole concept needs to be rejected outright. It is delaying the delivery date of the Newmarket rail upgrade. At this rate, we'll be struggling to get a new rail station and more efficient junction by the Rugby World Cup.

"Further, running noisy and polluting diesel buses on foundations above the rail precinct is completely inappropriate given the many neighbouring residents. It is simply incompatible for the hundreds of residents living in adjacent Broadway Park not to mention the nearly 400 apartments currently under construction between the station and Broadway. Officials are clearly working in silos with their blinkers on and the politicians need to ensure commonsense prevails by putting a stop to it.

"The business and resident community has embraced the concept of the Central Transit Corridor and has been prepared to accommodate more buses on our existing roads for the sake of an improved passenger transport link between the CBD and Newmarket. However trying to combine that project with the long-awaited rail upgrade is a very long bow that is simply unworkable.

"Officials need to get refocused on the original priority which is to upgrade Newmarket's station and remodel the junction to help the region reach its goal of 25 million rail passengers by 2015.

"After years of preliminary work no one still knows how much the Newmarket rail upgrade's going to cost, where the new station's going to be, what will happen to the old station, and when will the project be complete.

"It's fast becoming a very sick joke and local business-people, residents, and politicians have asked me to press for some action and accountability. "All of us local stakeholders have been deliberately left in dark over this ridiculous proposition. Officials are trying to lock it in before every level-headed person pulls it to pieces. We may not be invited to the workshops but bad news travels fast and we're determined to stop this lunacy in its tracks now," said Mr Brewer. *ARC Transport Committee Agenda p41 C.1.4 - Newmarket Station Upgrade, Tuesday 12 September 2006:

"ACC and ARTA are currently investigating the issue of the interface between the station and the CTC over the rail line from Khyber Pass through Newmarket Station to St Marks Road. The cost of future proofing (by installing foundations for the CTC over the Newmarket Rail Station) is estimated to be approximately $8 million.

ARTA has invited key stakeholders to a workshop in mid September to discuss progress on the proposed station redevelopment. In particular, possible options for integrating the proposed CTC with the rail station and implications for the relocation of the existing heritage station building will be discussed."

ENDS

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