by Gareth Hughes
I attended the opening of the New Lynn transport hub last Friday. I always enjoy attending the openings of great transport projects but this one was particularly fun. It wasn’t just a lot of boring speeches but included a troupe of dancing dragons, a Maori kapa haka group performed and Govenor General Anand Satyand, made a great speech in favour of better public transport for Auckland.
It was somewhat amusing that Labour pointed out – just before Steven Joyce’s speech – that the credit for building this station largely rests with Labour and Michael Cullen in particular. While I don’t think Labour did enough for public transport during their last 9 years in government there is certainly no denying that they funded 90% + of the government’s contribution to the New Lynn transport hub. Credit where credit is due.
After the formal part of the opening concluded, the deputy major, Penny Hulse headed outside to use a digger and take the first shot at demolishing the old New Lynn Bus Station. That might seem a little weird but if you compare the old, tatty wooden structure with it’s inadequate coverage to the new, shiny station which has good integration between cycling, trains and buses, you can understand why the locals are so keen to see the old station go.
As the Auckland Trains blog reports, as well as being a good example of integration between different transport modes New Lynn is also a good example of a transport orientated development. The old bus station will eventually turn into a shopping centre and apartment complex – meaning that hundreds of people will be living just 2 minutes from their local bus/train station. Now that’s a good way to get cars off the road!
And, as well as the New Lynn opening, there is new hope for other desperately needed public transport projects in Auckland with the early results of the Super City elections showing that Len Brown is beating John Banks.
While both Mayoral candidates have supported more investment in public transport and, in particular, fast-tracking the CBD rail loop, Brown has been much more vocal in his support for rail than Banks.
I think that Brown will also be more willing to challenge the government on their crazy motorway-building agenda and ask them to put more funding into the kind of transport infrastructure Aucklanders actually want – that’s more rail, in case you’ve missed the results of recent surveys.