With mounting frustration over increasing traffic congestion, there is a dire need for a central transportation hub featuring a park and ride facility, according to Howick Local Board member Peter Young.
He believes that the only way to tackle the traffic nightmare commuter’s face driving to the city from Botany, Ormiston and East Tamaki is to provide a free facility where people can park their cars for around 10 hours and board an Express bus to the city.
Mr Young suggests that instead of spending millions of dollars on the creation of a public park and reserve on the 53 acres of land bequeathed to Auckland Council, part of the Greenmount landfill could be used to create a central bus station.
“This would help to ease the traffic congestion to a great extent and help people to reach their workplace or university in city-central much faster,” he says.
The now-closed Greenmount landfill on the corner of Harris and Smales Roads that was once a quarry and then a landfill is set for a major transformation into a native forest with leisure areas like a children’s play park, fitness facilities, cycling track and off leash dog area.
Auckland Council identified $9 million last year for the transformation of the volcanic cone which was bequeathed to Manukau City Council by Sarah Lushington in 1940.
“The top half of the landfill with fantastic 360 degree views to the Manukau and Waitemata harbours as well as the city can be used as a park whilst the bottom half can be utilised as a central bus station,” says Mr Young.
“It would give people enough reason to avail (themselves) of public transport if they have a safe place to park without worrying about their cars being towed away in an hour or two from shopping malls.”
Having lived in Hong Kong which has successfully dealt with traffic problems, he says Greenmount is an ideal place since Ormiston Town Centre is already too crowded to afford a vast space for a park and ride.
“There is also a suggestion of a multi-storey car park facility near Pak’nSave.”
But, he says, that would again cost the council millions of dollars.
“We are so fortunate to have been gifted this land which is an ideal legacy that we could put to good use by partly utilising it to solve the growing traffic problem.
“Besides, we already have five big parks in the area.”
Mr Young suggests that locals should voice their opinion and give their feedback in the questionnaire provided in the summary of the draft Howick Local Board Plan 2017.
Howick local board members respond:
David Collings: I am very supportive of making our public transport system efficient and the idea of more Express buses has some merit, however I’m disappointed Mr Young has not asked for information regarding park and ride as we had a previous board member introduce such a scheme from Lloyd Elsmore Park that wasted $70k. I’m not in the business of wasting ratepayer funds and nor is the board and we would need to get good advice before considering any options.
Katrina Bungard: The concept of a transport hub certainly sounds like a project worthy of investigation. In theory, I am supportive of anything that could potentially assist in easing our traffic congestion issues. However, there is a proper process to go through involving consultation and the viability of such a project on this particular site, given the nature of the previous land use. We are still awaiting the transfer of the land use for park purposes, and so although we are certainly moving forward as fast as we can with this exciting development, there is still quite a few years in its development, and we are still very much in the early stages.
Garry Boles: Aren’t parks meant to be sacred land where you can go with the family? I think a lot of research needs to be done before any major step like this is taken. Don’t the buses feed through all the main residential areas anyways? Am not sure how this is going to work. Auckland Transport needs to be consulted.
Dick Quax: Am a bit reluctant to respond when the proposal is so sketchy and lacking detail. Park and ride usually works best if it a major transport hub. The park and ride experiment at Lloyd Elsmore Park was a failure primarily due to the reluctance to change modes.