Officials Shown Disgraceful Station


Unkempt, littered, unsafe (and usually graffitied).
The underpasses to Mt Albert station are still needing tidying up - ideally actually upgraded and made safe for commuters.
Here are some of the photographs Auckland City Councillor Dr Cathy Casey took from a walk from New North road to the station via the underpass, a journey her 12-year-old stepdaughter takes daily. That by the way just gets you to the underpass.
And she and Cr Glenda Fryer presented these photos to ARTA and KiwiRail, demanding an improvement.
There is still no sign of action.
Cr Casey says the basic problem at Mt Albert station is that the land is in multiple ownership. This picture at the entrance to the Mt Albert station from New North Road shows the land ownership mess.
The path Cr Casey is standing on is Auckland City Council land.
Allen Bufton (ARTA) is standing on ARTA land (which includes the paths to the station, underpasses and platform)
Cr Glenda Fryer (glasses) is standing on private land behind the carpark.
The fence and the land behind Allen (i.e. the land under and around the railway tracks) is owned by Kiwirail.

This KiwiRail fence to keep kids off the tracks has been broken for years.

This sofa was dumped 2 weeks ago. The land at the back of the car park is in private ownership.

At the back of the car park is broken guttering which causes torrents of rain to flood down creating a lake which floats with rubbish at the side of the path. And graffiti lining the roof as been there for ages.

Cr Casey says the entire path to the station has not been swept in months and that the channels in the underpasses are a disgrace.

Like along the whole rail network, there’s graffiti everywhere including in high places.

The ARTA station entrance path runs along the back of this overgrown private carpark.

It’s dreadful. But great to see city councillors taking a close interest and demanding action.
Once Mt Albert is cleaned up, we need an attack right along the graffiti-ridden rail corridor.




  1. patrick says:

    Mt Albert is the last main station on the western line not upgraded.
    Improved walkways, a new shelter and platform resealed would have the station in a suitable state, so how do-able is that, surely it’s not that hard?

  2. Matt L says:

    Patrick, because of the location of the station I think they are working on a plan for the entire area so the whole lot gets redone at the same time. One suggestion I have heard is to effectively put the station underground by building over the top of it with a public square or something similar bringing it up to the same level as New North Rd.

  3. karl says:

    Putting the station underground without very good urban design would be a dreadful idea.

    As for the current state, it seems to smack of having always been put into the too-hard basket because of the split responsibilities? Then again, some station HAD to be the last one to get upgraded.

  4. DanC says:

    It needs a freshen up in the short term. Water-blast and paint with a bit of planting and lighting it would be okay. Check out what London has done with a concrete underpass

  5. Chris S says:

    I agree with DanC. Those lights in the London underpass are awesome and would be great in Mt Albert.

  6. Mark Donnelly says:

    It needs a short term fix/freshen, but the medium term solution is part of the Mt Albert Precinct plan, which sees the ability to lease the air rights, and build a comprehensive station intergrated to commercial buildings/open space.

    The area is ready for re-development, and a station would be crucial to that. There is an opportunity to build over and effectively encase train noise (it’s still a freight line) - and there is a long strip of commercial properties, which could be developed for mixed commercial and resdiential use. A proper TOD.

    I’ve been working on this for several years, and we’ve got it to the precinct plan (which gets approved this week) - It puits in place the “policy” for the new Council/Transport agency. Next will be District Plan changes -which should flow from this.

    I’ve met with Kiwirail, and undersatnd their opportunites re the air right leases. It’s a feasible project in my view, but will take a few years - not helped by current economic climate.

    It’s already a busy station with Unitec and MAGS - and will only see greater growth in the future.

  7. karl says:

    Intensifying above the station could work, but would hopefully leave some light shafts and similar elements that would ensure one doesn’t feel like in a tunnel.

    Will the future zoning allow for high(er) rise buildings?

  8. Mark Donnelly says:

    - yes allows for higher heights. there are also potential options to build over roads such as ballast lane. It’s a very long strip, so would likely be some areas not built over for the diesel fumes. but that would be down to detail design.

    precinct plan is here:

    I actually think it might be the next rail integration development. It has potential with a re-designed bus interchange to become a major rail station (it’s second to Newmarkey now I think). And it would be a very good location, in a great suburb for office or residential. The 55ha at Unitec really is an undiscovered gem for most Aucklanders.

    The urban design will be crucial - a great open spce/public plaza, and a walking route down through the developments etc
    - as they say though “it won’t happen tomorrow” - but the first step is the planning rules…the it can happen.

    there is alreday a AUT/Unitec/Auck University urban design student project underway, which is very exciting - and rail will no doubt be a critical element. My comment to the students, was to show us what an Auckland “village” would be like in 2020…..

    Another issue I’m keen on is better cycle storage at the station - and if you have a major development, then that should be able to be catered for. That effectively extends the station “catchement” 2 or 3 fold.

  9. Jon C says:

    @Mark That is very exciting and hopeful.
    We need better cycle storage at several stations. I see cycles just chained to the fencing around the Avondale station every day and cyclists have started locking their bike around the informat[on posts at Morningside. Neither station has cycle storage provisions.

  10. Mark Donnelly says:

    I think it’s a greater issue than people think. Overseas there are cycle lockers that can be used and upright racks etc.

    I think it would make difference to patronage, at a pretty cheap cost. I know of one school kid, who had 2 chained bikes stolen from Kingsland. His parents now drive him to school.

    I wonder about the real benefit of major cycle lanes into CBD, when we could have every station with really good/secure storage. that way people not just CBD bound can cycle part of their trip eg change onto southernline etc.

    We don’t have the residential density around teh stations, and park and ride in city areas is a waste of space, and doesn’t ease congestion. And if you look at cicluar cathcements around stations, and walking distances - say 400m if 7you go out to 800-1000 the actual area increase is huge.

  11. karl says:

    Will the precinct plan pass before the super city, or is this likely to get stalled? Also, what is the legal status then - if it is accepted, does that mean I can build a 4-storey house on the south side of Carrington Road north of the station, or will that rule still have to be moved into the District Plan first?

    One of the most important factors of intensifying is of course whether the current housing allows it - most of the planned (residential) intensification not directly on the rail or around it is west of the rail line. What is the area like? Hopefully the houses aren’t nice old villas worth protecting, or we will not see much intensification happening…

    As for cycle storage, it is still pretty bad all over Auckland. I mean Auckland City Council almost killed off the NextBike bike rental folks because they were parking an extra 50-odd bikes more than they should have according to their initial resource consent. Council / Ken Baguely argued that one of their main concerns was that NextBike was taking away spaces from normal cyclists. Worrying that that is even an argument for 50+ bikes in a CBD of over 10,000 public CAR parks…

  12. karl says:

    “I wonder about the real benefit of major cycle lanes into CBD, when we could have every station with really good/secure storage. that way people not just CBD bound can cycle part of their trip eg change onto southernline etc.”

    Mark - its not an either-or proposition. People in cycling-friendly cities regularly cycle 5+ km. Commuters often even more (I used to cycle 12km to high school, and while not normal, was not an oddity). Having to switch to trains or buses if you don’t WANT to as a cyclist isn’t going to help. You will still have to wait for a bus/train, still pay extra for a bus/train, it may not go exactly where you want to go with your bike etc… so bike routes will always be needed.

    On the other hand, providing bicycle parking at stations isn’t going to undermine bike routes (quite the contrary!), so I am all for it. People who don’t like or won’t cycle the whole distance can use the parking, and thus will increase cycling overall, no matter whether they ever change to “go the whole way” (or maybe only cycle all the way in good weather). I also agree with the comment that it hugely extends the station range.

  13. Mark Donnelly says:

    Precinct plan will go through City development cmtee tomorrow - hopefully with just a couple little changes re heritage.

    And it will the go to District Plan stage. The plan is that it is a proper Council policy, which has been consulted and approved politically - so new Council should just pick up and implement. Also Kiwi rail or other landowners could propose a plan change - and it would fit within an established COuncil policy.

    I agree spread is too wide re, densification - but based on Future Planning Framework, but again needs to addressed in spatial plan for new Council

  14. Jon C says:

    That council report says re feedback on open days etc (which I attended!) Strong support for an upgrade of the rail station, the improvement of associated pedestrian links and for the redevelopment of the rail station block as a catalyst site including public space, a bus interchange, and integration between the rail station and surrounding land uses. Concern about timeframes with much feedback expressing the view that the rail station needs urgent upgrading.
    KiwiRail and ARTA drew attention to reverse sensitivity issues associated with
    development adjacent to a rail corridor.

  15. karl says:

    How costly is it to noise-proof a future “tunnel”? A simplified form of noise-wall (with some capacity to “swallow” noise as on the better motorway noise walls) as well as careful track work underneath should reduce the local noise levels quite considerably from what exists now.

    Any such work should be conditioned on any new development above - lets just hope the land will be (or become) valuable enough to support such extra work.

  16. Mark Donnelly says:

    I’m not sure on engineering side - but shouldn’t be too difficult. _ and the Orakei development faces same issues (in fact greater with more freight).

    The key I suspect is to make it a cost which is “shared” over a future development. ie if Kiwirail, get a financial return they may contribute more to achieve that, and if the worked with adjacent landowners, and dvelopers the cost would be spread over a wide area that would be developed. This would include height etc. So if you had a public plaza/ adjacent building going from New North, over Ballast lane and track - with say 3-4 storey retail/office resdiential, and cost of foundtations / noise proofing would be a smaller %, and passed on.

    If however you tried just an open space plaza, station, it would probably be too expensive. That’s why we want an integrated masterplan approach.
    btw - precinct plan went thru this morning - so is no “policy” for new Council to run with….

  17. Nick R says:

    Noise can’t pass through solid concrete very well, so with the right design of decking over the top (and the sides) and careful consideration of the tunnel portals and station access noise should be pretty easy to contain.


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