Pedestrian level crossing removal Pedestrian level crossing removal

 

AT is removing 7 pedestrian level crossings to improve safety and enable more frequent trains for the City Rail Link. 


Project Zone: Region-wide
Project Status: Community feedback


Yellow commuter train passing railway crossing sign

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Auckland Transport (AT) is required to remove all level crossings across the rail network to improve safety and enable more frequent trains after the City Rail Link (CRL) is open to the public. This is because of existing safety regulations associated with the frequency of trains through level crossings. 

AT is currently investigating the possibilities for removing our more complex rail level crossings, including road level crossings and crossings adjacent to train stations. These investigations are in the early stages of a business case process. In the meantime, we are starting to remove 7 pedestrian-only level crossings across Auckland, as they are less disruptive to remove.

Background

More frequent trains:

We are working with our partners to upgrade the rail network, and there are several projects under way. These upgrades include the City Rail Link (CRL), Electrification from Papakura to Pukekohe (P2P), KiwiRail's Rail Network Rebuild, and the Third Main Line.

These upgrades will enable more frequent trains, including more AT passenger trains, KiwiRail freight trains, and other regional services to Hamilton and Wellington.

We are also planning to introduce a rail network with new services and timetables for when the CRL opens to the public. These new timetables will mean that train frequencies increase by 100% in some areas, causing significant delays at level crossings as barrier arms are lowered more often.

Improving safety:

While more frequent trains can support better customer journeys, they also cause delays at level crossings due to the increase in barrier-down times, which can result in increased safety risks:

  • Longer delays for general traffic and pedestrians at level crossings will increase risk-taking and people crossing in front of oncoming trains due to impatience.
  • KiwiRail have reported an increase in near misses, serious injuries, and deaths at level crossings over the last year.
  • Population growth and densification around train stations will increase safety risks and the likelihood of future incidents.
  • Many rail level crossings in Auckland were originally built when there were fewer people crossing them and fewer trains on the network; they were not designed for current or future rail frequencies.

To improve safety at level crossings, and to support growth on our rail network, we have developed a Level Crossing Removal Programme.

Project details

Pedestrian level crossing removal

The Level Crossing Removal Programme takes a long-term approach to removing all level crossings over the next 10 to 30 years. We are currently investigating possible solutions for removing our more complex rail level crossings, including our bus road level crossings. 

In the meantime, we’ve started work to remove 7 pedestrian level crossings before the CRL opens to the public.

Removing our pedestrian level crossings is required to reduce the risk of an incident before we introduce more frequent trains after the CRL opens to the public. This is needed to receive approval from Waka Kotahi, our rail safety regulator.

Why are crossings being removed?

We’re removing pedestrian level crossings to improve safety.

There are significant safety risks at level crossings, even with barrier arms or automatic safety gates, and we need to remove these risks as much as possible before we introduce more frequent trains after the CRL opens to the public.

While an incident may not have occurred at your local level crossing recently, incidents such as near misses and collisions with pedestrians have occurred, and continue to occur, across the network. AT takes these risks very seriously as we work hard to provide a safer network for everyone.

Options considered for this project

For each pedestrian level crossing, we considered 4 options:

Crossing removal

The primary reason for removing pedestrian level crossings is to improve the safety of the rail network. AT also considers the availability of alternative routes, and the low-cost of potentially upgrading these routes, to deliver greater value for money.

Bridges and underpasses

AT does not have funding for bridges or underpasses to replace any of the pedestrian level crossings due to current budget constraints. These options require significantly more funding, time, resource consenting, and planning to complete. The additional time required for this option will impact AT’s ability to run new rail services when the CRL is open to the public.

AT is open to community feedback and will consider a grade-separated alternative at some locations based on this feedback and subject to available funding. As AT does not currently have the funding for a grade-separated crossing, alternative local sources of funding would need to be found.

Automatic safety gates

Automatic safety gates can prevent unsafe behaviour and crossing attempts. However, over time we’ve observed pedestrians pressing the release button and crossing in front of oncoming trains, children climbing over the gates while they are closed, or prams becoming stuck in the tracks as people cross. The release button is necessary to meet accessibility requirements related to wheelchair users but is not 100% effective at preventing serious injury or death.

No changes

Making no changes to the level crossing is not an option due to the ongoing risk of serious injury or death. This is a significant safety risk that AT cannot compromise on, especially if safe alternative routes are available.

While a collision with a pedestrian has not occurred at this location, collisions with pedestrians have occurred, and continue to occur, across our rail network regularly. We will not wait for a collision to occur in order to justify removing a level crossing.


Crossing Locations

We will remove 7 pedestrian-only level crossings at the following 6 locations:

Download map showing affected pedestrian level crossings (PDF 130KB)

O’Neills Road, Swanson

Context

This crossing is not controlled by automatic safety gates and is situated between new residential developments, schools, and other local businesses.

There are 2 alternative routes nearby:

  • An underpass on North Candia Road, 400m east of the level crossing
  • An overbridge at Swanson Station, 700m west of the level crossing.

Community Engagement

From 12 June to 2 July 2023, we engaged with the Swanson community regarding the removal of the O’Neills Road pedestrian level crossing.

Community engagement provided us with valuable feedback about how we can improve alternative routes to make them safer and easier to use. Because of rail safety regulations we must comply with, engagement did not focus on the removal itself.

Our Response

In response to community feedback, we will undertake a Traffic Assessment to better understand the safety concerns associated with alternative routes. We have acknowledged the possible improvements suggested by the community, and these will be considered as part of our assessment.

We will reach out to the Swanson community once our assessment is complete and after improvements for the alternative routes have been identified.

More information is available here:

Timing

We have listened to community feedback and are investigating possible options and dates for this crossing. 

Corban Estate, Henderson

Context

This crossing is not controlled by automatic safety gates and is one of 3 crossings connecting Corban Estate Art Centre to Great North Road.

There are 2 alternative routes nearby:

  • An underpass near Opanuku Stream, 150m south of the level crossing
  • Mount Lebanon Lane, 250m north of the crossing. 

Community Engagement

 From 12 June to 2 July 2023, we engaged with the Henderson community regarding the removal of Corban Estate pedestrian level crossing.

Community engagement provided us with valuable feedback about how we can improve alternative routes to make them safer and easier to use. Because of rail safety regulations we must comply with, engagement did not focus on the removal itself.

Our response

We listened carefully to community feedback and will make the following improvements to the alternative routes:

  • We will upgrade lighting, install new signage, and trim the vegetation on the approach to the underpass near Opanuku Stream.
  • We will investigate the Mt Lebanon Lane route and, if possible, improve the quality of the level crossing surface for pedestrians.

More information is available here:

Timing

We will remove the crossing during the planned rail maintenance shutdown period in December 2023/January 2024. We listened carefully to community feedback and will make improvements to the alternative routes before removing the level crossing.

Kingdon Street, Newmarket

Context

This crossing is controlled by automatic safety gates and connects 2 roads in the busy commercial and business area of Newmarket.

The alternative route is nearby:

  • Davies Cresent, 100m east of the level crossing

Recommended Improvements

To improve this alternative route and ensure safety for additional foot traffic, we recommended the following improvements:

  • A wider footpath on Davies Crescent, from 1.3m to 2.5m
  • A new raised table crossing on Short Street to calm vehicle traffic.

Community Engagement

From 31 July to 27 August 2023, we engaged with the Newmarket community regarding the removal of the Kingdon Street pedestrian level crossing.

Community engagement provided us with valuable feedback about how we can improve alternative routes to make them safer and easier to use. Because of rail safety regulations we must comply with, engagement did not focus on the removal itself.

Our Response

We are now assessing community feedback to understand how we can improve the alternative route via Davies Cresent. We will consider this feedback with an open mind.

AT will provide a formal response to the feedback in an Engagement Summary and Decisions Report soon.

Timing

We are currently assessing community feedback to help us understand how we can improve the alternative route and when we can remove this crossing.

Lloyd Avenue, Mount Albert

Context

This crossing is controlled by automatic safety gates, connects 2 residential streets, and is situated near Mount Albert town centre.

The alternative route is nearby:

  • Carrington Road, 200m south of the level crossing

Recommended Improvements

AT is progressing a separate project to upgrade Carrington Road between Point Chevalier and Mount Albert town centres. The Carrington Road Improvements project will include wider neighbourhood upgrades to support local growth, improve safety, enable more accessible streets, and unlock more travel choices for everyone.

Construction of the Carrington Road Improvements project is planned from late 2025 to 2026. Once complete, this project will significantly improve Carrington Road as an alternative to the Lloyd Avenue pedestrian level crossing.

Before we remove Lloyd Avenue pedestrian level crossing, we recommended the following interim improvements:

  • New separators to protect bikes travelling on Carrington Road between Prospero Terrace and New North Road
  • A new speed hump on Prospero Terrace to calm vehicle traffic.

To improve safety on Carrington Road, we also recommended a new pedestrian crossing with traffic lights at the Prospero Terrace/Carrington Road intersection.

Community Engagement

From 31 July to 27 August 2023, we engaged with the Mount Albert community regarding the removal of Lloyd Avenue pedestrian level crossing. 

Community engagement provided us with valuable feedback about how we can improve alternative routes to make them safer and easier to use. Because of rail safety regulations we must comply with, engagement did not focus on the removal itself. 

Our Response

We are now assessing community feedback to understand how we can improve the alternative route via Carrington Road. We will consider this feedback with an open mind.

AT will provide a formal response to the feedback in an Engagement Summary and Decisions Report soon.

Timing

We are currently assessing community feedback to help us understand how we can improve the alternative route and when we can remove this crossing.

Tironui Station Road East, Takanini

Context

This crossing is controlled by automatic safety gates and is situated near the busy Takanini shopping centre, schools, and other local businesses.

The alternative route is nearby:

  • Walters Road, 500m north of the level crossing

Recommended Improvements

Te Tupu Ngātahi Supporting Growth Alliance is investigating the possibilities for removing the Walters Road level crossing, including provision for a new overbridge with safer walking and cycling facilities.

Community Engagement

From 31 July to 27 August 2023, we engaged with the Takanini community regarding the removal of Tironui Station Road East pedestrian level crossing. 

Community engagement provided us with valuable feedback about how we can improve alternative routes to make them safer and easier to use. Because of rail safety regulations we must comply with, engagement did not focus on the removal itself. 

Our response

As part of a recent Safety Assessment, we’ve identified some potential interim improvements needed at the Walters Road level crossing before it is removed. These improvements will require further investigation and include:

  • Repair the tactile markings for pedestrians
  • Investigate relocating the emergency exit sign on the west side of the level crossing
  • Improve the level crossing surface by introducing a system called veloSTRAIL track panels. We have informed KiwiRail, who will make further investigations.

More information is available here:

Timing

We will remove the crossing during the planned rail maintenance shutdown period in December 2023/January 2024.

Homai Station

Context

There are 2 crossings at Homai Station. Both crossings are not controlled by automatic safety gates and are situated near the Blind and Low Vision Campus and Manurewa High School.

The current alternative route is via the stairs, connecting Homai Station to Browns Road.

Recommended Improvements

To improve the alternative route and ensure safety for additional foot traffic, we recommended the following improvements:

  • To provide a safer and more accessible connection, build a new ramp to replace the stairs between Browns Road and Homai Station. 
  • Replace footpaths damaged by tree roots on McVilly Road.
  • Widen footpaths surrounding the station to 1.8m, including footpaths on Browns Road, McVilly Road, to the Park and Ride, and the bus stop.
  • Other footpath improvements surrounding the Park and Ride, including re-routing footpaths to provide a more direct connection between the bus stop and Browns Road.

Community Engagement

We are currently assessing community feedback to determine if additional improvements are needed for this location. We will consider this feedback with an open mind.

AT will provide a formal response to the feedback in an Engagement Summary and Decisions Report soon.

Timing

Community feedback will help us understand how we improve the alternative route and when we can remove this crossing.


For more information on this project

Contact Auckland Transport