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THERE ARE BUS STATIONS and then there are bus stations. And the Manukau Bus Station in south Auckland, NZ, is a supreme example of how one should be done, becoming the sole winner in the 2018 Public Architecture category at the Auckland Architecture Awards, held recently.

Auckland Transport’s chief infrastructure officer Greg Edmonds says AT’s continued partnership with Mana Whenua was an important component in the design and construction of the station.

“In addition to the use of natural timber and prominent Iwi creative expressions, Te Aranga Māori Principles guided the design of the vital stormwater management system and the passive temperate controls methods,” he said.

The Auckland Architecture Awards are part of a programme run by the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA). The programme sets the benchmark for the country’s buildings and recognises the contribution of architects to their towns and communities, it’s stated.

Rick Pearson, this year’s awards jury convenor said:  “Infrastructural projects, such as the Manukau Bus Station, where culture and function are integrated so that the architecture is meaningful as well as cleverly planned, impress us. From the metaphor of a kite has been created a lovely, light floating structure.”

The project was designed by Beca Architects and Cox Architecture in association.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, along with Transport Minister Phil Twyford and the Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board, opened the NZ$49 million bus station last month. It represents a significant investment in a joined up public transport system for Auckland, making it easier for people to switch between bus and rail and to get around the city without adding to road congestion.

Manukau Bus Station

The new Manukau Bus Station is said to be at the heart of the new connected public transport network for south Auckland, connecting bus users to trains and other buses.

Its features include: 23-bay bus station right next to the existing Manukau train station; 21 sawtooth bays and two parallel bays (for additional capacity); Built on the site of the Civic Building car park, on Putney Way (between Davies Avenue and Osterley Way); Universally accessible; Bike parking racks, taxi parking and drop-and-ride area; Convenience kiosks and AT Metro customer service centre; 24-hour security, help points and CCTV; Real-time passenger information; Waiting area, toilets, bus staff and office facilities.

Benefits are said to be improved passenger transfer between bus-bus and bus-rail services; it supports the increased volume and movement of buses to and from Manukau and the wider network; plus provides a key regional bus destination, e.g. those currently using Leyton Way at Westfield, and will allow people to transfer to regional bus services.

Design Highlights

* A high-quality building with an architectural look and feel incorporating local and cultural history.

* Sawtooth layout, similar to the Hamilton Transport Centre and Hamburg Central Bus Station in Germany, to provide higher operational efficiency and minimise land use.

* Provides enhanced level of service, security and shelter required by passengers throughout the year and from early in the morning to late at night.

* Roof planes running in north-south direction, designed to provide maximum amount of natural light.

* Promoting intuitive orientation and way-finding.

* Designed to enhance the sense of space.

* Stormwater runoff from the bus bays and bus manoeuvring area will be treated through rain-gardens located within the station area, prior to discharge to the wetlands in Hayman Park.

* Bus station access for passengers will be via Putney Way to provide easy access to the train station.

* Bus bay roofs provided for passengers shelter will accommodate double-decker buses.

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 Sawtooth Design

After several investigations, AT decided on the sawtooth design as it maximises the use of space and accommodates the maximum number of buses.

The majority of routes terminate or start from the bus station, rather than being through services, so buses will need to wait in the bays.

It is estimated that there will be at least a five to 10 minute gap between services to allow for: bus drivers to rest and use toilets; change bus drivers, if required; turn buses around safely; set up the bus for the next service; allow time for the late arrival of preceding service so that the next service is able to depart on schedule.

A standard parallel stop would require additional layover spaces, so waiting buses do not impact on others needing to use the space. The saw-tooth layout eliminates this issue, it’s claimed.

Buses will reverse out of the bays. The bus reversing area is sufficiently segregated from the bus entrance and exit lane, so reversing buses will not get in the way of buses entering or exiting the station. Bus drivers will also be trained in station operating protocols to keep delays to a minimum, it’s stated.

Sawtooth design is far safer for passengers as it removes the conflict between them and bus movements, it’s reported. Passengers will not be permitted to go into the bus reversing area; there will be fencing and signage to ensure they do not enter.

Passengers will get on and off buses from a kerbed boarding area. A design that has one door per bus bay so passengers can walk directly between the boarding area and the station is being worked on. One door for two bays to reduce future maintenance costs, is also being considered.

Direction of the sawtooth bays enables use of the south side of the station area so that all buses can enter and exit in the same direction (bus doors are only on the left side). Having the sawtooth in the other direction would impact on or preclude the use of the valuable commercial parcel of land at the north-east corner of the site.

The central island design, used in Northern busway stations, would not suit the requirements for the southern region services. Having buses park parallel would mean the station required a larger footprint and would reduce the scope of any future development in the area.

Sawtooth-designed bus stations are in operation in Hamilton and Christchurch. The project team visited both of these bus stations to discuss the operational and safety issues with the operators. Both operators have expressed no safety or operational concerns with the sawtooth design and lessons from the visits have led to the optimisation of safety considerations in the Manukau design, it’s stated.

Other Features

The station building has been designed with passive heating and cooling, so the temperature self-regulates – concrete floors hold the heat in winter and glazed ceiling panels will keep the building cool in summer.

LED lights installed throughout the station will consume less electricity and are cooler than incandescent lights, reducing the risk of combustion. They are also more resistant to breakage.

Water-sensitive stormwater design, including rain gardens, does not require electrical pumping (as opposed to proprietary filter systems).

Mechanical and electrical areas are temperature-regulated by a Louvre system that allows fresh air in, but keeps rain and direct sunshine out.

Grey water (drained water from sinks) will be treated for odour and recycled back to the building for toilet-flushing.

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