Calls for AT to stop wheels on bus stop proposal

Howick Local Board members John Spiller and Adele White in the car parks that will be affected by Auckland Transport’s proposed plan. Times photo Kelly Teed

Parking in Howick could be about to get a whole lot harder, thanks to new plans from Auckland Transport (AT).

A bus network overhaul is in the works for east Auckland which will include changes to bus routes, route numbers, timetables and buses. AT claims the network will bring more services – especially between 7am and 7pm – seven days a week along with buses every 15 minutes between Howick and Botany.

Part of that plan includes the creation of a number of new bus stops around the city, one of which is planned to fall on Howick’s Cook St, outside All Saints Church.

That would come at the cost of a confirmed seven car parks – parks that Howick simply can’t afford to lose, says Howick Local Board member Adele White.

Ms White says while the improvement of public transport in the area is long overdue, the potential loss of parking spaces in the Howick region “could be disastrous.”

“The seven spaces in Cook St are all well used, particularly by the elderly to access All Saints Church, clients of nearby medical and dental practices and those supporting retailers and restaurants across the road,” she said.

“Every available parking space is critical to Howick Village’s economy.”

A petition circulating to retain the Cook St parking places claims AT also plans to enlarge the existing bus stop outside The Good Home which would involve the removal of a further three parking spaces.

Fellow board member John Spiller said he had spoken to surrounding business owners who had raised concerns about how the lack of parking could affect their businesses and clients.

Auckland Transport spokesperson Mark Hannan said the plan is still in the consultation phase of where the new and relocated stops will be.

He said the proposed Cook St stop would not be planned as a public stop, meaning it wouldn’t be used for passengers to get on and off the bus.

“This is planned as a layover stop which is used to change drivers or for drivers to take breaks. It needs to be close to toilets and food outlets.”

All Saints Church Vicar Andrew Coyle told the Times he had received a letter from Auckland Transport informing him of the removal of the car parks.

He had asked his congregation to raise their concerns and he had in turn passed those onto Auckland Transport.

Mr Coyle said his main concerns involved how the removal of parks would affect ease of access into the church for elderly citizens who could struggle with walking uphill.

He was also concerned about possible traffic impacts of the bus affecting cars exiting the roundabout.

Ms White suggested moving the proposed stop a short distance further up Cook St – a “flat and quite pleasant walk” away – something Mr Coyle said could “perhaps be a better idea”.

Mr Hannan said discussions are due to be held with the Howick Local Board.

“Two sessions have been booked with them to go through all the new bus stops and layover stops for the Howick area. Adjacent landowners have been sent the consultation map.”

He said AT had received feedback from All Saints Church and would be taken into consideration.

  •  Have your say and find out more about the proposed changes:

Howick Village Market, Picton St – Saturday 18 November, 8am – 12:30pm.
Panmure Train Station – Tuesday 21 November, 12pm – 6:30pm
Botany AT Customer Service Centre – Wednesday 22 November, 12pm – 6:30pm
Pakuranga Night Market, Reeves Rd – Saturday 25 November, 5:30pm – 12am
Botany AT Customer Service Centre –  Tuesday 28 November, 6:30am – 12pm
Panmure Train Station – Wednesday 29 November, 6:30am – 12pm
Pine Harbour Fresh Market, 190 Jack Lachlan Drive, Beachlands – Saturday 2 December, 8am -12pm
Howick Santa Parade, Picton St – Sunday 3 December, 11am – 5pm
Howick Information Centre, Picton St – Tuesday 5 December, 12pm – 6:30pm

Feedback can also be sent to busstopfeedback@at.govt.nz.