Franklin’s looming transport crisis



Have your SayAnyone who has to commute daily from anywhere in the Franklin region into Auckland will know what a frustrating experience it is crawling in near gridlock traffic on the Southern Motorway and State Highway 22 during peak periods. Week after week there are articles and letters about the issues with the train service, with all the politicians and agencies all pointing the finger at each other.
Meanwhile a massive amount of housing and development is planned for the Franklin region with no upgrades to the transport system planned any time soon to serve this big increase in numbers. Let alone to address the current problems.
Providing much needed housing across Auckland is one thing, but the infrastructure to support all these people needs to be included at the same time.
The answer is to start making greater use of the underutilised rail lines the Franklin region is fortunate enough to have.
The politicians, agencies and the Government need to start working together to develop and expand the train service and make trains more accessible to more people both in the Franklin region as well as further south.
Train services could easily be extended south from Pukekohe to serve Tuakau and Pokeno, with switching tracks at Mercer. Stations and park and rides need to be built now at Drury and Paerata, as well as at Buckland, Tuakau and Pokeno.
Train services should also be run with these same diesel units from Waiuku to Papakura using the Glenbrook Vintage Railway’s line during the weekday peak periods when the GVR doesn’t generally operate. This would provide a congestion free commuting option for Waiuku residents, as well as providing income for the volunteer run GVR.
Let’s break from the habit of only looking at roading solutions and buses which don’t fix the congestion problem, by using the rail lines with the diesel units already available, which could be brought into use easily and more cheaply with new stations and park and rides across the region, rather than wait on the big ticket projects of electrification and motorway expansion.
J Williamson, Waiuku
(Letter abridged)

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