As a kid I was always fascinated by the bizarre interchange between New North Road and Dominion Road, between Kingsland and Eden Terrace. You know the one – it looks like this: From Dominion Road/Ian McKinnon Drive, the interchange looks like this:
You can see from the above photos how “out of place” the interchange is with its surrounding area. This is further reinforced when you see what the interchange looks like from above: The interchange, as well as the semi-motorway that is Ian McKinnon Drive, exists because it is the first section of what was to be a complete motorway down Dominion Road (or very close to it). This was a key part of the 1960s motorway plan for Auckland (the Dominion Road motorway is outlined in red): It’s pretty common knowledge that our transport priorities in the 1960s were crazy, leaving us with some pretty massive urban scars like this interchange. But I wonder if it could make sense to remove this excessively large interchange – humanising this part of Auckland, freeing up some space for development and maybe even the whole thing could be self-funding?
To look at the issue a bit more closely, let’s see how much space the current interchange actually takes up – as shown in the map below it’s around a whopping 5 hectares – 50,000 square metres (assuming those places on Ace Place have an area of around 2,000 square metres):
To link up a few of the local roads (like Aitken Terrace) it might require a bit more space, but probably not too much (say around 2000 square metres). So overall, broadly, it seems that we could free up around 30,000 square metres for development through this area – 3 hectares!
How much might three hectares of urban land be worth around here? To get some sort of idea, let’s take a look at the land value of a nearby site: With this 422 square metre site having a land value of $630,000 – that equates to around $1500 a square metre. Multiply that by 30,000 and you get around $44.7 million. And that’s just taking the land value of a site with a fairly small building on it as our guide – potentially you could build quite high densities around the intersection of two major arterials.
Perhaps we could tie this in with the building of the City Rail Link project – as the Western Line in this area will probably need to be lowered quite a bit to ease the slop of the Rail Link tunnel.