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. We are seeking feedback to help reduce the impact of these removals and make the alternative crossings better.


Project Zone: Region-wide
Project Status: Community feedback


On this page:


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.

While an incident may not have occurred at your local pedestrian level crossing recently, incidents such as near misses and collisions with pedestrians have occurred, and continue to occur, across our rail network even if there are automatic safety gates. AT takes these risks very seriously as we work hard to provide a safer network for all Aucklanders.

Background

More frequent trains:

We are working with our partners to upgrade the rail network and there are several projects underway. 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 increase rail capacity and enable more frequent trains, including both passenger and freight trains.

We are also planning to introduce a rail network with new services and timetables for when the CRL opens to the public. These new services and timetables will mean that train frequencies will increase by 100% in some areas, resulting in some barrier arms and automatic safety gates at level crossings being lowered for up to 45 minutes of each peak hour.

Improving safety:

While more frequent trains can increase rail capacity and improve travel times, it also makes control of rail level crossings complex and increases safety risks:

  • Longer delays for general traffic and pedestrians at level crossings (due to more frequent trains) will increase risk-taking and more 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, therefore were not designed for the 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 adopts a long-term approach and will remove all level crossings in stages over the next 10 to 30 years.  We are currently investigating the possible solutions for removing our more complex rail level crossings, including our busy road level crossings. 

In the meantime, we have 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 serious injury or death, and therefore receive regulatory approval from Waka Kotahi, before we introduce more frequent trains after CRL opens to the public.

Why are crossings being removed?

The primary reason for removing pedestrian level crossings is to improve safety.

These are already significant safety risks at level crossings, even if there are barrier arms or automatic safety gates, and we need to reduce 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 pedestrian level crossing recently, incidents such as near misses and collisions with pedestrians have occurred, and continue to occur, across our rail network. AT takes these risks very seriously as we work hard to provide a safer network for all Aucklanders.

Options considered for this project

The four options considered for each pedestrian level crossing are outlined below:

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 crossings due to current budget constraints affecting all Auckland Council controlled organisations. 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 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 have observed pedestrians pressing the release button and crossing in front of oncoming trains, children climbing of the fencing while the gates are closed, or prams becoming stuck in the tracks as people cross. This release button is necessary to meet accessibility requirements related to wheelchair users. This option is therefore 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 which AT cannot compromise if safe alternative routes are available.

While a collision with a pedestrian has not occurred at your level crossing, collisions with pedestrians have occurred, and continue to occur, across our rail network regularly.


Crossing Locations

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

Download the map showing the 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 near-by:

  • 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

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

Community engagement provided us with valuable feedback, including local concerns about the removals, the alternative routes, and how we can make the alternative routes easier and safer to use.

Engagement did not focus on the removal itself because of the rail safety regulations which we must comply with.

Our Response

In response to community feedback, we will undertake a Traffic Assessment to better understand the safety concerns associated with the 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 improvements are identified.

More information is available here:

Timing

We have listened to community feedback and are investigating possible options and dates for this crossing. We will reach out to the community once this is complete.

Corban Estate, Henderson

Context

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

There are 2 alternative routes near-by:

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

Community Engagement

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

Community engagement provided us with valuable feedback, including local concerns about the removals, the alternative routes, and how we can make the alternative routes easier and safer to use.

Engagement did not focus on the removal itself because of the rail safety regulations which we must comply with.

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 in late 2023. 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 two roads in the busy commercial and business area of Newmarket.

The alternative route is near-by:

  • Davies Cresent, 100m east of the level crossing.

Recommended Improvements

To improve this alternative crossing and ensure it is safe for the 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

We engaged with the Newmarket community regarding the removal of Kingdon Street pedestrian level crossing from 31 July June to 27 August 2023.

Community engagement provided us with valuable feedback, including local concerns about the removals, the alternative route and the recommended improvements, and how we can make the alternative route easier and safer to use.

Engagement did not focus on the removal itself because of the rail safety regulations which we must comply with.

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.

A formal response to the feedback will be provided by AT 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, Mt Albert

Context

This crossing is controlled by automatic safety gates, connects two residential streets, and is situated near the Mt Albert town centre.

The alternative route is near-by:

  • Carrington Road, 200m south of the level crossing.

Recommended Improvements

AT is progressing a separate project to upgrade Carrington Road between Point Chevalier and Mt 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 existing 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.

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

Community Engagement

We engaged with the Mount Albert community regarding the removal of Lloyd Avenue pedestrian level crossing from 31 July June to 27 August 2023.

Community engagement provided us with valuable feedback, including local concerns about the removals, the alternative route and the recommended improvements, and how we can make the alternative route easier and safer to use.

Engagement did not focus on the removal itself because of the rail safety regulations which we must comply with.

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.

A formal response to the feedback will be provided by AT 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 near-by:

  • 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. We will potentially make additional improvements based on the community feedback.

Community Engagement

We engaged with the Takaanini community regarding the removal of Tironui Station Road East pedestrian level crossing from 31 July June to 27 August 2023.

Community engagement provided us with valuable feedback, including local concerns about the removals, the alternative routes, and how we can make the alternative routes easier and safer to use.

Engagement did not focus on the removal itself because of the rail safety regulations which we must comply with.

Our response:

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

A formal response to the feedback will be provided by AT in an Engagement Summary and Decisions Report soon.

Timing

We are currently assessing community feedback to help us understand if additional improvements are needed to the alternative route and when we can remove this crossing.

Homai Station

Context

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

Recommended Improvements

We will seek feedback on the recommendations for this location in late 2023.

We recommend the following improvements to alternative route:

  • Build a new ramp to replace the stairs between Browns Road and Homai Station to provide a safer and more accessible connection.
  • Improve footpaths surrounding the station, including on Browns Road, to the Park and Ride, and the bus stop.

Community Engagement

AT will seek feedback on removing the Homai Station pedestrian level crossing in late 2023.

A formal response to the feedback will be provided by AT in an Engagement Summary and Decisions Report at the end of the engagement period.

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