Southern main corridor needs humanising
With Davies Avenue covered (see: #TransformManukau – The Davies Avenue Axis. Part 9 of the Manukau City Centre – The Transform Series) as a premier boulevard I swing to the southern end of Manukau City Centre and look at the primary southern east-west axis that is Manukau Station Road.
You can see Manukau Station Road there along the southern east-west axis as it connects between Lambie Drive and the Great South Road. Manukau Station Road was once Wiri Station Road and State Highway 20 until the Southern Western Motorway was built causing a rejig in the area. The rejig means we are left a four-lane 60km/h road with a wide green median strip that is a dehumanising experience designed for cars despite the people anchors in the area.
By people anchors (things that attract large amounts of people):
- MIT and the Manukau Station
- Manukau Bus Station (from 2017)
- Police HQ
- Civic Building
- Rainbows End
- Large medical centre
So what to do about Manukau Station Road?
Manukau Station Road is to form main public transit route in and out with 500 bus movements a day going to and from the Manukau Interchange as well as most likely serving as the Light Rail corridor between Botany and the Airport in the future.
The bus and later Light Rail movements need to be taken into account before we do any humanising of Manukau Station Road unless we want more disconnection that Manukau already suffers from.
First up would be to drop the speed limit from 60km/h to 40km/h along Manukau Station Road so that the road is not encouraging as a rat run for cars trying to get to the Southern Motorway. Next on the list is 24/7 bus lanes with traffic signal priority for the buses to allow the buses servicing the bus station easy and efficient access along the transit corridor unless you want to sit in general traffic for 20 minutes in the evening rush hour. After that it would be time to humanise the intersections through installing Barnes Dance pedestrian signal phases (all four corners cross at once) while removing all slip lanes that are hazard to people. Installing separated cycle ways would also be a good idea as well as getting a designation put down for the eventual Botany Line.
Note: the Light Rail would be elevated not at ground level
Granted the above is all physical infrastructure projects but they are needed to lay the foundation to new developments on Manukau Station Road while restoring that human element on the former State Highway.
Those new developments along Manukau Station Road would include Te Papa North, retail and commercial service, commercial office and housing. Again like Davies Avenue I prefer the developments to be mixed use (retail on the bottom, office in the middle and residential on the top) to get maximum use from the land while discouraging vertical sprawl that can happen in single use towers.
Finally Manukau Station Road also contains most of the vacant land in Manukau City Centre meaning getting larger scale developments off the ground (once the road is humanised) would be easier to achieve (even than Davies Avenue given Auckland Transport own the land there needed for development). That said Davies Avenue would still go first given it is a prime candidate to be a premier Boulevard (Ronwood Avenue is another candidate as a long-term project) but Manukau Station Road would be next off the rank (if not done at the same time if we are ambitious).
In the next Transform Manukau series post I swing east and north to the Great South Road and Ronwood Avenue. After that I swing south to the residential areas of Manukau/Wiri and Rata Vines.