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Porirua Railway Station Puts Its 'Golden Foot' Forward

Porirua Railway Station Puts Its 'Golden Foot' Forward

Porirua's Railway Station Upgrade Project was last week awarded the 'Golden Foot Award' for Best Walking Project, by Living Streets Aotearoa at its annual combined conference with Cycle Advocates Network, in Hastings.

Living Streets Aotearoa is the New Zealand organisation for people on foot, promoting walking-friendly communities. The Best Walking Project award recognises any project by a business or organisation that has made a significant difference to encouraging more walking.

The awards were given out at the conference by Associate Minister of Transport Chris Tremain.

Meg Christie, Living Streets Aotearoa executive member, said of the railway station upgrade, "This was one of those "wow" projects. What had been a dreary and depressing subway has been transformed to a great, classy place to walk through. It really is an asset for the community…"

Porirua Railway Station is Wellington Region's third busiest railway station, carrying between 1.3 – 1.5 million passengers each year. The pedestrian subway is the entrance to the train station and also sees around 300,000 people a year pass through, walking between Porirua east and the city's CBD.

In 2011, Porirua City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and KiwiRail began a collaboration to complete a $1 million upgrade to the station, for the new Matangi commuter trains, and make the subway and approaches feel safer, look more attractive and reduce maintenance costs.

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The subway and approaches were transformed into one of the most unique subways in the country: The subway features 60 floor-to-ceiling photo panels featuring 75 spectacular photographs of Porirua and 11 murals by local artists, showcasing stunning local natural environments and artworks, line the three approaches to the subway.

Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett says, "The station has been transformed from eyesore to icon and is a fitting introduction to visitors of Porirua's beautiful natural environment, wonderful relaxed outdoor lifestyle and mix of vibrant cultures."

"Before the upgrade, the station and subway were dingy and potentially unsafe. This transformation has not only beautified the site, it has also had other very positive effects, such as greater pedestrian use of the subway and, it appears, train use as well," says Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Barbara Donaldson:

In 2011, Kiwirail reported a 9% increase over the previous year in 10 Trip adult ticket purchases, a 28% increase in monthly passes and a 72% increase in School Term Passes.

Graffiti and maintenance costs have fallen significantly since the upgrade: From January to August 2010 graffiti removal costs were $18,017, while the costs for 2011 over the same period was $430. Maintenance costs dropped by more than 83% during the same period.

Crime statistics are also down. Kapiti Mana Police reported a 46% drop in the number of crime incidents reported at the station between 2010 and 2011.

Says Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett, "We're very proud of this project and the collaborative way it came about, and pleased to have its success acknowledged by people who are passionate about actively encouraging walking in the community. Porirua Railway Station is now a destination in its own right and not only a stop along the way."

ENDS

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