Auckland City Councillor: Kingsland Underpass Should Go Up To Village


Now that we can actually begin to witness visually what the much-trumpeted revamped Kingsland train station underpass and adjacent Sandringham Rd changes are all about, are we satisfied it’s what everyone needs?

An Auckland City Councillor has reservations abut what’s being done and an interesting idea about the underpass going right up to Kingsland.

But before we get to that, here’s some good news:

Yesterday, I wrote of my concern about the lack of a crossing opposite the station at Sandringham Rd. This after observing departing train passengers risking their life by dashing between cars during the busy afternoon rush hour.

Getting across from the train station is a roll of the dice

Auckland City says there will be a crossing controlled by lights installed just north of Walters Rd.

Distance from Walters to the train station

Presently, the nearest crossing is way up the road and around the corner towards Kingsland village near Kowhai School, and created 13 years ago when Eden Park night games were begun.

Existing crossing near Kowhai school

That present crossing is dangerous according to locals as it is around a corner and not what city-bound motorists expect to be there -  but it’s still going to be retained in the new order of things.

Besides a bus lane, there is the proposed link road between Sandringham and Walters Rds, to make it easier for those attending the games at Eden Park. Walters is the side road that leads to the park entrance.

The bus lane and link road cost is $18m.

Focus Eden-Albert Councillor Mark Donnelly, president of the Eden Park Neighbours Association and a Walters Rd resident,  prepared a presentation on the issue to Auckland City’s traffic committee, a year ago but he says the council rubber stamped its plans.

In his presentation, he approved the power being put underground , houses being retained and re-aligning Walters for a left turn.

But he argued:

  • The pedestrian crossing being retained at the corner is dangerous and should go.
  • Widening the bus lane is not needed. They need just a crossing with lights and bus pre-emption at the stop beside the lights. “If they don’t stop, buses travel the same speed as cars.”

Bus lanes - "not needed"

  • Part of widening Sandringham Rd was for the wider platforms for the RWC. “Our suggestion was not to widen, but use a “shared space” concept on the station side – out to the width of the bus lane. After 9am each day, it’s a parking area anyway. Once power goes underground, width would have been fine. Then on game days, patrons would have a nice flat area of footpath/bus lane width. Even after $6m on station and $18m by Council, they will still walk off into a gutter – which is dangerous with shoulder to shoulder crowds.”

Walking into a gutter?

  • The underpass, while a good concept, should have had an extra lane that went to a staircase up to the popular Kingsland Neighbourhood bar car park – opening up a direct route to Kingsland. Widening by a couple of metres could have been very good for day to day access to the north platform. Local businesses supported this idea. Presently, you have to walk over the platform overbridge to New North Rd and then turn left to head for the pubs and restaurants.

Underpass should go UP to Kingsland

  • The link road  will create a major crossover point for pedestrian flows but the presentation argued that there was no pedestrian flow modelling showing conflicts.
  • The link road would create the need for a new marshalling/ control point for rail patrons as some of those patrons would use the shortcut to jump in front of the train queue. It would impossible to stop them especially when Sandringham Road was not closed.

Marshall plan from presentation

Mr Donnelly told me:: “Part of the issues are still very relevant as we see transport going to a CCO. ARTA were able to just do what they want with no consultation on design options. For example, ARTA need to start getting serious about bike racks (secure area etc), there’s major potential to extend the stations catchment beyond normal walking limits and so on.”

The presentation had recommended the removal of plans for both a bus lane and a link road.

The presentation spoke of “too much uncertainty, too high a cost on the local community and a lack of cost versus benefit analysis.”

Normally tranquil, villa-dominated Walters Rd,

It’s too late to turn back but there could still be at least consideration to the extension of the underpass idea, providing that direct route to New North Rd and the other points raised. There’s still time.
Otherwise there will be a feeling among some that this may be another of those typically half-satisfying Auckland concepts, that stops short of the potential of what it could have been.
Kingsland close up - Photos
More close up photos
Kingsland - one week to go
Kingsland- birds eye view




  1. Jeanette Cole says:

    People drinking while on the footpath now are enough of a problem, it would be exacerbated with pedestrians trying to walk through as well.


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