More Park & Ride to meet Waikanae commuter demand
An end to parking woes at Waikanae Station is in sight with a decision today by Greater Wellington Regional Council to buy the land on which the Waikanae Hotel currently stands.
The purchase of the land, on Main Road / State Highway One in Waikanae, will be funded by the Regional Council and the NZ Transport Agency. About 250 parking spaces will be created in the new facility, bringing the total number of free park and ride spots at Waikanae to 428.
The land is divided into a number of different parcels. The Regional Council has secured the vast majority but the existing owner is still negotiating over one small adjacent parcel.
"The site we have purchased is ideal for Waikanae Station commuter parking," says Fran Wilde, Chair of the Greater Wellington Regional Council. "Commuters will have a very short stroll to the lights to cross SH1 safely to the station, avoiding the extremely risky behaviour of many commuters at the moment who are parking further north on SH1 and dashing across and along this very busy highway.
"The Regional Council has been working closely with Kapiti Coast District Council for several years now exploring opportunities for park and ride to meet demand. The extension of commuter services to Waikanae in 2012 has been a huge success - Waikanae patronage has increased 853% since 2006 when the only service was the Capital Connection. More than 1000 people catch the train at Waikanae each weekday and many of these are from further north.
"It has been a real challenge finding land for commuter parking so we're delighted to be able to take advantage of this rare opportunity. And we look forward to working with the local community to ensure the facility is an attractive, well-maintained site which can be available for community activities, such as farmers' markets, during the weekends.
"This purchase, along with that of land at Paraparaumu recently, demonstrates our continuing investment in great public transport for Kāpiti. We want to make it easier for people to get out of their cars and take the train, thereby taking more cars off our busy roads and reducing traffic pollution."
NZ Transport Agency regional director Raewyn Bleakley says the expanded facility represents another encouraging step forward in making public transport more accessible to the local community.
"There's a direct link between better facilities and improved public transport uptake. An expanded Park and Ride facility will make it more convenient and appealing for Waikanae commuters to jump on the train, while also helping to take cars off the road."
Kāpiti Coast Mayor Ross Church says pressure on parking in the Waikanae town centre is frustrating for commuters, businesses and residents and having a solution is a big relief.
"The availability of parking is important to the on-going health of the shopping and business precinct. A new car park, alongside our other plans for the transformation of the town centre, will open up exciting new opportunities."
Both the new Waikanae and Paraparaumu park and ride facilities are expected to be available for parking, in stages, before the end of the year.
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