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Transit 'Sylvia Park' signage grossly inconsisteNT

Media release

Newmarket Business Association

Monday 25 September 2006

Transit's 'Sylvia Park' signage grossly inconsistent and unfair

Auckland's leading shopping district, Newmarket, is crying foul over Transit's bold new signs for the newly opened mega-mall Sylvia Park. It is accusing the government roading agency of picking favourites and is calling for commonsense uniformity.

"Last year Transit blankly refused to give Newmarket a southbound sign on SH1, arguing it was all about international consistency. Now Transit has erected big green 'Sylvia Park' signs on SH1. That action is at complete odds with the argument Transit made us swallow last year and we're going to fight it," said General Manager of the Newmarket Business Association, Cameron Brewer.

"Given the increasing competitiveness in retail, signage is crucial. Not having Newmarket's main SH1 off-ramp signposted 'Newmarket' is costing our commercial district valuable business."

Last year the Newmarket Business Association wrote to Transit asking for a 'Newmarket' sign for the benefit of southbound SH1 drivers, in addition its newly-appointed exit number 431. Transit refused, stating its priority was not necessarily to name suburbs, but rather name arterial roads that off-ramps immediately fed onto. Hence why Newmarket's off-ramp reads 'Gillies Avenue'. Transit also argued its new exit numbering system was an international standard and would be more helpful to visitors navigating around an unfamiliar city.

Newly erected Transit signage on SH1 reads "Sylvia Park Mt Wellington Exit".

"We are not so interested about the Mt Wellington reference because that is a suburb like Newmarket that deserves a pointer. Our concern lies around the fact that Sylvia Park gets publicly-funded signage when in fact it's not a suburb. It's effectively a private retailing business albeit a big one ," says Mr Brewer.

"Sylvia Park is not recognised as either a suburb or a business district by New Zealand Post, the Whitepages and Wises Maps. Only Transit has elevated this shopping mall's status to that of a suburb. Sylvia Park may be an old name, but it is not a suburb or even a business district, it is simply a pocket of Mt Wellington. No one even lives in Sylvia Park. It's effectively a brand that is getting special treatment and arguably a commercial advantage from a taxpayer-funded agency.

"If Transit applied its logic equally to Sylvia Park, the sign would read 'Mt Wellington Highway Exit' alongside its exit number, just as Newmarket's reads Gillies Avenue and exit 431.

"Newmarket is known as Auckland's premier retailing district and is the region's second commercial area. It is also home to a few thousand residents. Sylvia Park has only a retailing function and at this stage only has just over 100 shops. Newmarket is miles bigger, a commercial and transport hub, a residential suburb and is much more strategically significant in the region. Yet Transit believes Sylvia Park is more worthy of signage. It makes no sense and can not be justified.

"Transit is inconsistently applying its own signage policy. We accepted its standardisation argument last year. We will not accept it now. It is out of line. Newmarket's lack of signage is now a glaring omission. We don't necessarily want to see Sylvia Park's signage taken away. We just want Transit to apply the same logic to Newmarket by naming our off-ramp the 'Newmarket Exit'.

"Signage is important especially in a place as busy and as big as Auckland and of course the competitive commercial environment. Over 200,000 vehicles travel on Auckland's SH1 over Newmarket every day. The lack of a Newmarket sign is now a glaring oversight that needs rectifying. The Newmarket Business Association has written to CEO of Transit today insisting on some consistency and soon," said Cameron Brewer.


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