Saturday on Anniversary weekend. Aucklanders flock to the sea, as ever, but what is new is that so many don’t choose to do this by driving out of town on our vast new motorways to distant beaches but head downtown to our new but still only part built waterfront. Don’t get me wrong I love a secluded beach too, and many no doubt are there right now, but this use of the city is worth remarking on because it is relatively new. And like the rapid growth of new urban residents [up 46.5% in the latest census, biggest rise anywhere in the country], the rise in cycling and use public transit services [and demand for the improvement of both] is showing every sign of being a permanent shift, a secular change, and not just a fad…. enjoy!

WYNYARD JAN14_1646 phone pix Jan 2014_1647 phone pix Jan 2014_1650 phone pix Jan 2014_1644 phone pix Jan 2014_1654 phone pix Jan 2014_1661 phone pix Jan 2014_1655_2

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  1. We were at the Seafood Festival on Saturday. Huge crowds were crossing the te Wero bridge. It was good to see. I can also report that the bus (there and back) was also very well patronised (but very hot – if there was air conditioning it wasn’t working and of course there were no opening windows).

    1. The solution would obviously be to build a bypass twice as wide right next to it… 🙂

      Funnily enough, in this context, that might almost make sense (i.e. if insufficient capacity occurs more than one day a year)…

      1. It does make sense to look at a lot more – I think this crowding happens more like twice a months now. And makes it really hard to use as a cycle route too.

  2. Funny you say that as it was meant to be more than twice as wide and accommodate a transit route to Britomart but that visionary last Mayor of the old Auckland City John Banks, with support from the C&R block, hacked it down to its current width, because, you know, ideology.

    Clearly they were and are wrong. In fact Waterfront Auckland are facing a big problem called success. They built a bit and the people are coming, and as they build more, more will come, but they have yet to have any real means of getting people there and away again in anything like the numbers and with the efficiency required.

    It’s even getting hard for people to walk there! What is needed is a short to medium term bus plan and a longer term Rapid Transit one. Hopefully a Fanshaw St busway and station isn’t too far away, but also a direct Britomart to Wynyard route, on a second bridge beside this one, is necessary. Should it be for pedestrians and cyclists only or should there be an resurrection of the silly tram with an actual useful destination (ferry and train terminals and bus hub). The Fanshaw St severance also needs fixing.

    Post CRL I can see an argument for even building the cut and cover Light Metro line between Aotea Station and a new Wynyard one in anticipation of the North Shore line and running a continuous automated shuttle back and forth to link the Rapid Transit Network and the heart of the city to this growing area.

    Which means planning that route now.

    1. Funny you should mention access. We made the same comment as we tried to find our way from the bus stop to the waterfront (to discover the street we were going down was totally blocked for some kind of road works and we had to double back). We knew where we were going but we did wonder how visitors negotiate the industrial wasteland in between Fanshawe St and the waterfront.

    2. Its funny you mention that because when I saw those photos this AM the first thing that popped into my head, “is now that this is so popular, Britomart is really on the wrong side of Quay Street for easy walking access to this part of town. Something needs to be done.”,

      I didn’t post as I thought it would be churlish to make comments about something AC does being too successful, but thats what we have here now I think.

      I’ve walked across Te Wero bridge when its crammed like that and its not a overly pleasant experience.
      For such an open space, its bad that we have such a major pinch point just accessing it.
      And it is a reasonable walk from Britomart to Wynard, but an underpass under Quay Street from Britomart, coming up on on the sea side of Quay Street might be a good solution for right now, while the more expensive stuff gets built.

      Would also integrate trains and ferries much better too not having to cross Quay street as it is now.
      I know that Quay street will become some kind of pedestrian friendly precinct one day, but that day is not here yet and the people are here already.

      1. The cost of an underpass would probably be more than the cost to upgrade Quay Street to be less of a motorway sewer and would result in a very poor outcome for everyone. Reducing car priority is easy and could be done tomorrow with planters and some paint, it simply needs the will. No need for expensive overengineering underpasses which simply banish people into a dark tunnel when they should be out enjoying the great waterfront (that we are still awaiting). The success of Wynyard is the priority given to people, the same needs to be replicated on Quay Street to give the downtown a connection to the harbour once again. Only thing in the way is AT.

        1. Not sure that a pedestrian underpass/overpass would cost more than sorting out Quay Street (which has not got full council buy in as of yet).
          The biggest impediment to your idea is the Quay Street/Lower Hobson Street intersection.

          Which funnels traffic on/off Quay Street from Fanshawe/Custom Streets and the waterfront areas (the car park area near the Maritime museum and the Wharf where the Hilton is).
          Thats a 4 way intersection, with crap pedestrian priority. But if you sort that out the rest of Quay street will calm down traffic-wise soon enough.

          So whats your suggestion for sorting that out as AT is obviously bereft of ideas?

  3. Good to see the waterfront being used. But the new ASB offices stick out like a dogs bollix. Like the PWC tower hanging over the viaduct basin. Who approved these monstrosities.

    1. Thankyou Patrick for the pics – very nice spaces there being well used. I like the ASB which is exactly what is needed to cement growth into the area, and is to my eyes an interesting and dynamic shape. And – yes that bridge does look under-sized for current and future growth. There is still water to flow under the bridge, as it were, in regard to developing a direct PT link to the area.

  4. I think that Silo park is the best area, an area for kids to play and grass to relax on etc,
    the proposed changes to Waitemata Plaza could have similar features, it will be good to see something similar happen there.

  5. What I particularly like about the pictures of the wharf are the pentimenti of a rail-based freight system, one that served this country so well until it was destroyed in the interests of ‘enterprise’. Hopefully this short-sighted abandonment can be rectified in the not too distant future.

    1. Genuinely curious here: I always thought those rails were for cranes? Since the larger cranes on the still-functioning wharves are on rails.

      1. No way would that number of rails be needed for cranes. They were for freight trains in the olden days when they actually went to wharves.

  6. A shame the trams are not running. I get why they have low usage during most of the year, but when thousands are there for recreation over the summer holidays, surely it’s an opportunity to run the trams?

    1. The trams are out of action while Daldy St is being worked on. They will be reinstated however as the replacement track is being laid on Daldy. The big challenge is to get light rail to Britomart. The current lifting bridge was supposed to be temporary for the RWC 2011 – it is time to think about a more permanent solution..

  7. Adelaide to invest in trams:

    “The “transformation” plan was partly inspired by similar investments made in Bordeaux, France, a city that shared both Adelaide’s fortune, being in close proximity to a world-famous wine region, and its folly – it ripped up its original tram network to make way for the “era of the motor car” in the 1950s.”

    As part of an ambitious integrated transport upgrade including rail electrification and and an inner city link. But of course Abbott’s road centric politics are in the way:

    “…the federal government has played its card, pulling a reported $76m in funding from one SA train electrification project, the Gawler and Outer Harbor train line, citing a need to focus on rail freight and big road projects instead.”

    Really interesting that across the Anglophone world at the city level there is a consistent and clear direction that national governments, especially where run by country parties, don’t get. Cities are looking like the more nimble and progressive political form, or at least the need for change is more evident in urban places and economies than in more rural ones.

      1. Spoken like a true non-tram user. Two incidents in one week in Melbourne (and actually, so far this year at least one major meltdown every week according to reports):

        1. Swanston Street, 6pm, weekday – tram breakdown, no less than 18 trams backed up for 45 minutes, throwing the whole system into disarray (Swanston being the backbone for much of the local tram with about a dozen routes relying on it). Why? A tram (a relatively new one) had broken down just passed Collins. Absolute shambles for the next 2-3 hours as timetables were adjusted, trams were out of place. Just a nightmare for everyone concerned and ended up causing massive overcrowding on platforms at nearby train stations. Horrible. Were it a bus it would be moved in no time and traffic would resume with minimal delay.

        2. St Kilda Rd, Saturday, 2pm tram in front travelling up the central spine hits a cyclist – no idea how or why, but yet another reason to LOVE cyclists. Within minutes, eight trams are blocked. Two more in sight about to be blocked. Timetables thrown into chaos for at least an hour as the tram is quarantined for investigation and eventually moved away. Gave up and walked. Had it been buses, everyone behind would have been able to overtake. Yes it’s sad for the cyclist who was taken to hospital, very sad. But the impact of an isolated upset on a PT system relying on trams has enormous ramifications.

        Lesson: trams aren’t worth it. Even in cities like Melbourne with the most supportive infrastructure and expertise in running an extensive system, trams are just too prone to delay. No wonder Victoria is turning its attention to buses.

  8. What I don’t get is why on Earth were cars still allowed at the Viaduct and on Te Wero island? The place was packed with people what with all the events going on, unbelievably they had to make way for a handful of drivers .We were trying to watch a busker at the Viaduct – with nowhere to stand but on the roadway in front of the Maritime Museum, which at first sight appeared to be closed off. We didn’t get to watch the busker’s act because we were constantly on the lookout for the steady stream of drivers and their cars that were apparently still allowed to make their way through the crowd while also continually getting directed away by the security people telling the crowd to make way for the cars.

    Surely with so many events going on you’d expect the main pedestrian route between downtown, the cruise terminal, the open day at the Ports, the city’s main transport hub, the downtown carpark, and the extremely popular waterfront to be packed with people? To then still allow cars there, and prioritise them, is just beyond me.

    1. Why does this car park even exist full stop? Such a waste of prime land and the constant stream of people circling to park is a nightmare. What’s the point of the downtown carpark if we persist with wasteful surface level parking right on the waterfront?!?

      1. Yes there could still be loading zones there for access to the yachts, which could then be closed for festivals and weekends, but there is absolutely no need or advantage in allowing parking there, especially as it just leads to drivers entering the space circling and then having to leave not finding a space only to be replaced by the next over-optimistic lazy-arsed motorist….

        It’s embarrassing to have such obvious people space poned by parkers: Liveable city?

      2. Are those boats who “park” there paying a full price for using the Viaduct?
        If not, maybe we could sort out both issues at once – move these boats elsewhere in the basin and then the need for loading/unloading areas to be set aside goes away.
        So the need for car parking does too.

        Agree that the boats add some ambience to the place, but no point having a few boats clogging up the wharf area if doing so kills the ability of everyone else to use the Viaduct to get to/from Wynyard.

        1. No need to go overboard Greg: The boats are great there and they need to be able to be serviced, but it doesn’t follow from that that cars need to be stored on this valuable island.

          Dumb dumb dumb land use: Come On AT [apologies to Dexys Midnight Runners]

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