Laxon Terrace – Sarawia Street rail level crossing
In 2015, Auckland Transport will be closing the level crossing connecting Sarawia Street and Laxon Terrace in Newmarket.
The closure will enable planned improvements in rail frequency to be realised once new electric trains come into passenger service and remove safety issues associated with this level crossing.
The crossing is the busiest and most complex in New Zealand in terms of rail movements and is a major contributor to service disruption to current rail services. As the crossing provides the only vehicle access route into and out of Laxon Terrace, an alternative vehicle access needs to be provided.
A Scheme Assessment Report has been completed for the project which considers the feasibility and impacts of all identified options. Among the options identified are the three short-listed options presented to the community in December 2012 along with a re-investigation into the feasibility of an underpass linking Sarawia Street and Laxon Terrace.
The recommendations of the report have been presented to the Auckland Transport Board for a decision on a preferred option to progress. The Board is expected to announce their decision on the project early in 2014.
Following the Board’s decision, the intention is to commence the design of whichever option is selected .The design phase for the preferred option will involve further engagement with the community. AT is working toward completion of the project by the end of first quarter 2015, timed to allow the introduction of higher-frequency electric train services.
The refined option scope includes:
Furneaux Way option: inclusion of a pedestrian/cycle bridge from Cowie Street or Sarawia Street to Laxon Terrace
Cowie Street bridge option: no change
Newmarket Park option: inclusion of a pedestrian/cycle bridge from Cowie Street or Sarawia Street to Laxon Terrace
The refined options were presented to the Waitemata Local Board on11 June 2013 (PDF 1 MB)
A public forum was held on 12 December 2012. Read the presentation from that meeting (PDF 890kb)
Details of proposed options
Auckland Transport began engagement with residents and community groups in November 2012, holding a public forum at the Parnell Community Centre in December 2012 and encouraging public feedback via a survey on proposed options. The consultation period ended on 24 April 2013 and a total of 188 responses were received, showing a wide range of opinions on the four options proposed.
Recurring themes from the consultation feedback include:
the need to keep pedestrian and cycling access to Parnell, Newmarket and Newmarket Park
concern over the removal of the crossing and questioning the need for its removal
concern on the impact of a Newmarket Park road considering that the park has been recently redeveloped and improved
mixed response on the safety impact for Newmarket Park users should a road be introduced, with some commenting that increased public presence makes the park safer while others believe there will be an increase in loitering and anti-social behaviour in the park
concern over the effect of Laxon Terrace/Youngs Lane traffic being redirected into Furneaux Way and how this may interact with new developments in the Broadway Park area
concern that a Cowie Street bridge will affect Cowie Street property prices and be visually imposing
concern that the community consultation did not extend widely enough to include residents further afield and that not all residents received the AT letter and survey response form circulated to residents in early April
comments on the methodology used by AT to produce a benefit-cost analysis of the economic case for the various options
AT has continued to engage with representatives of a number of community and resident interest groups since then, as well as the Waitemata Local Board, to discuss their concerns and ideas and update them on progress.
Once the Board has selected an option to progress to the detailed design stage. AT will continue to engage with directly affected residents and representatives of other interested groups to ensure the best outcome possible for the community.