K Rd Kerfuffle


The only time transport issues get an airing is when there is a negative spin.

And the critics have certainly gone to town about the new $2m Karangahape Road bus shelter upgrade.

A union leader is quoted as saying they look “absolutely appalling, these bus shelters in the middle of the footpath.”


This is no time for nostalgia. The 40-year-old bus shelters had to be replaced. They had long past their use-by-date and the needed maintenance job was too expensive. Time to throw them away like some of the other bad or outdated 1970s ideas.

The existing bus shelters on the motorway overbridge had been built in 1970 with an expected life of 25 years. This is 2011. What happened to the Microsoft Outlook Calendar reminder that should have popped up in the former Council’s computer saying it’s time to change them?

So what’s the union going on about? They look a great improvement to my eyes.

The union guy calls it a $2m toilet which is very harsh. He is complaining about the narrow pedestrian passage behind the shelters which he predicts will be “a dangerous place to walk and a standing invitation to drunks to empty their bladders.”

“You’re going to get the low life hiding behind there, creating a security risk.”

Firstly: Yes the passage is narrow but won’t most people walk in front of the shelters as well? It happens at most other bus shelters I have sat at where there is also a wide footpath space. Judging by the construction marks on the footpath, once the seating goes in there should still be plenty of space to walk in front of people unless they are queuing at a bus that has arrived.

And secondly we all know about K Rd and its variety of souls who hang around there.

There are some nice people living in the area, some interesting bohemian shops, spaces occupied by smart internet entrepreneurs and friendly cafes.
But K Rd is also notorious for its street prostitutes.  I was up there in the middle of the day last week and saw some rather unusual troubled people wandering about or stretched out on seats or in doorways. The particular area where the bus shelters are placed also have their share of the city’s sex and massage places.
At least these shelters are open, modern and hopefully have CCTV. The new design, by Opus Architecture, will optimise views and ensure that the new shelters are easier to clean and maintain. Lighting in the area is being improved and the back safety screens are see-through.

K Road is one of the main roads on the walking route to Eden Park and new shelters have been timed to be completed in time for Rugby World Cup 2011.

We should be supporting such upgrades.




  1. Andy says:

    I think they are a great improvement, but it’s a shame that the roof couldn’t have been cantilevered out from the glass edge of the bridge. That would have left the footpath completely open.

    Probably much more expensive I guess.

  2. Jay says:

    They are obviously a huge improvement from the previous shelters but they could have designed something better than a row of “L”s.

    I agree with your comment Andy, it would’ve been much nicer if the roof was cantilevered from the edge. The narrow pathway behind it isn’t very efficient I reckon.

  3. geoff_184 says:

    Like all modern shelters, these new ones will do nothing to keep the rain out. The old ones may have looked tatty, but at least the rear windows went right to the roof, and so kept out the wind and rain. Why do we always have to have disconnected windows and roofs in NZ?

  4. Antz says:

    They are perfectly fine to me. Much more appealing and airy.

    It’s a pity that a few moaners in Auckland has to whinge whenever money is spent, Proberly never been on PT.

  5. Commuter says:

    Over-engineered; detailing is notably clunky; from a informed perspective, I’ve got to say it’s not particularly effective design; and, evidently, it’s not terribly functional. So I suspect the Tramways Union representative has got it right.

  6. Patrick R says:

    Haven’t had a look yet, but isn’t ‘Kerfuffle’ just the best word?!

  7. Martin says:

    I agree with Andy

    theses should have been more like awnings coming off the sides of the bridge protecting all pedestrians/passengers, not wasting space as has happened.

  8. Carl says:

    if the back is not closed in, someone explain to me what is the point of covering the roof in glass?

    pointless and a waste of time, people will still get wet underneath it.

    the roof section clearly should have started behind the barrier coming up and over covering the “now” shelter area and the walking section behind it.

    give it 5 years and they’ll be back at it again.

    and as for the world cup “walking path”… concept… so the don’t get wet in this section but if they are walking from somewhere else they are already going to be wet if its raining…

    again doesn’t make sense!

  9. George D says:

    Yep, Commuter and Tramways Union guy are right. The section down the back is uninviting - what are people supposed to do in it?

    I do think it’s important to have interesting design in Auckland. But functionality comes first, and this appears lacking. Even from a design standpoint those grey beams are heavy and clunky. On a cold windy day with rain these are going to be horrible.

    Every new thing must be at least as good as what it replaces. We’re spending money to make things better!

  10. Mike says:

    What a bunch of winny bitches!! It is still under construction and you having a whinge about not having a back or sides. The rear and side panels are one of the last componets I would attach in the construction. Think about that, how much of a pain would construction become if the workers had to constaintly walk to the ends and be far more careful about damaging the glass.

    I would walk through that gap at the rear problem. Perhaps a little less KFC and excersise and you might br able to fit too.

  11. Nick says:

    I think its a bit hasty for the unionist to be saying what will happen behind the shelters when we don’t know what material is being used for the backs yet. It’s not going to be a safety issue if the backs are glazed. I think ithe new shelters will be less intimidating than the old, allowing more light in with the glazed roof.

    The designers were probably caught between creating a seperate passage behind the shelters to allow through ped traffic. Or having the whole footpath used by bus people and peds. That can be difficult walking through when there’s lots of people waiting for the bus. I think what they’ve done is fair enough.

  12. Nic says:

    Have any of the people in favour of the new design actually spent any time on K-Road in winter? The wind and rain howls through the motorway ‘canyon’. This shelter design leaves a large gap between the upright wall of glass and the roof, so is simply inadequate at best.

    K-Road once had respectable businesses all the way to Ponsonby road, but the demolition of a large stretch for the motorway cutting is what killed off the foot traffic of businesses past the overbridge. The very reason that the sex industry thrives in that part of the city is that rents are cheap, and low foot traffic assures a degree of anonymity.

    The dramatic reduction in shelter on the overbridge may stop the homeless from loitering, but it is also going to make it much more difficult for any legitimate business to stay afloat on the other side.

  13. Carl says:

    @ Mike

    you missed the point, I’m talking about the back and the roof going right over the back of the barrier on the edge of that actual footpath, not just the shelter bit, thus creating the void that everybody is talking about.

    the whole foot path should be covered over, not just 3/4 of it or 1/2 of it.

    I know how construction works, I studied design, the glass would have been smashed already if it was up.

  14. KarlHansen says:


    Also not good to start to start your first post here on the article with an “youre all idiots who know nothing, and you are fat” kind of comment. Makes us, maybe, a little less likely to listen to you, you know?


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