Gareth Hughes

Pedestrianise Queen Street? Hell yeah!

by Gareth Hughes

The Auckland Council is consulting right now on a discussion document called the City Centre Master Plan (PDF). It almost slipped under my radar but I’ve managed to draft up a quick submission to go in before the closing date – this Friday, the 17th of June.

I encourage you to make an online submission or send in an email too. This discussion document is short but it has some great ideas in it which should be encouraged.

I mainly got interested in it because of the transport aspect – the document suggests that Queen Street should be pedestrianized. It also says many of the other streets in the CBD should be made safer and more attractive for walkers and cyclists. Naturally they want to complete the CBD rail loop (who doesn’t? Apart from the Collosus of Roads that is).

Other exciting ideas include a proposal to two-way Hobson and Nelson Street (which right now are absolute wastelands for everybody not in a motor vehicle) and connect up the waterfront using a light rail system. Of course, this process has already started with the heritage trams at Wynyard Quarter.

What else is discussed that I like the sound of? More tree planting, a heritage trail, sustainability design standards for new buildings, and trying to create an amazing learning precinct.

This would be awesome and sorely needed as right now the two big universities in the CBD (AUT and University of Auckland) don’t really feel very well connected at all.

They also talk about the need to provide more facilities for families living in the city with children and better designed apartments for families. This is something I’m very conscious of, bringing up my kids in a flat in the Wellington CBD. We need more children’s playgrounds and sports fields in our city centres, as well as primary schools.

Finally, they talk about making the waterfront more accessible. They suggest there could be a continuous boulevard and cycle path from the Harbour Bridge through to Saint Heliers. This would be a great use of Tamaki Drive – an outstandingly beautiful road which right now is just dominated by heavy traffic and parking. It would have flow on effects that would increase the value of the land adjacent for business and residential development.

In general, I’m a pretty big fan of the City Centre Master Plan right now. But please do make a submission to try and make it even better! A few ideas I’ve suggested to improve it are daylighting the Horotiu Stream (imagine Queen Street with a stream down the middle – it happened in Seoul where they turned a freeway into a river) and extending the walk/cycle way on Tamaki Drive all the way out across the Harbour Bridge.