In a couple of weeks work will start on a $5.5 million upgrade the Devonport wharf and Marine Square as part of a larger $24 million upgrade to Devonport which also includes a new library. One thing I find most interesting about the upgrade is that it will see a number of existing carparks removed and replaced with an enhanced urban space as well as more parking for bikes and scooters.

The new boardwalk will connect the wharf, Marine Square and Victoria Rd and will transform the eastern side of the wharf into a significant public place on the water’s edge, with space for outside dining and for people to gather.

Construction of the boardwalk provides the opportunity to reconfigure and refurbish the tenancies in the front part of Devonport Wharf. Auckland Transport will be offering new, larger tenancies with a food and beverage focus.

Marine Square will be upgraded from a car park to an integral and appealing part of the village’s attractive new gateway. The reconfiguration will provide a more functional layout in which pedestrians, vehicles and cyclists can safely coexist.

Thirty-five long-term car parks will be removed and a variety of landscaping will take place to visually frame and enhance the special character of the area.

Commuters will be encouraged to make the switch to public transport or alternative modes of transport such as biking and/or walking during and after the upgrade.

Auckland Transport has plans to increase the number of commuter buses to the wharf and the number of scooter and bike parking spaces.

Here’s an image of what the upgrade is meant to look like after it’s been completed.

Devonport Wharf and Marine Square upgrade

It looks pretty good and much better than the current arrangement while providing a slightly more direct route from the village to the wharf which will be good for pedestrians.

To try and encourage people to shift from driving to the wharf, AT are running a competition to give away a scooter

To provide a little impetus, Auckland Transport is running a competition for all Devonport residents who want to change to another mode of transport. The prize is a sensational scooter courtesy of Scootling.

To go in the draw, simply fill in the entry form (PDF 112KB) and put it in the entry box at the Information Centre in the Devonport Ferry Terminal before 5pm on 28 February 2014.

The winner will be drawn by Devonport comedian Paul Ego at 10am on 1 March on the wharf. Anyone who has entered the competition will be welcome to attend. The winner will be notified the same day as the draw.

I’m all for encouraging people to shift modes but I wonder how effective this will be and wonder what kind of precedent it sets – will it be something expected at all future station, wharf upgrades. Further how many of those driving to the wharf are coming from outside Devonport? Lastly it begs the question of why it is being done for this upgrade yet there wasn’t something similar done for the recent opening of the new Panmure interchange.

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  1. Is the scooter a polluting two stroke? If so, what the hell is AT doing adding to the particulate pollution of Auckland? They should be banning them, not giving them away.

  2. I worked on setting up a trial of preferential parking for HOVs at Devonport and at Albany Busway station. I hope that this parking will be retained.

  3. Looks like a decent pedestrian-friendly upgrade, with a public space created and it being easy to change across varying public transport modes – it’s a good model to use elsewhere. They just need to get HOP cards working so that commuters can use public transport without paying over the odds for the bus-ferry-bus/train combo. I recently used a HOP card from Onehunga to get a train into town and it only cost $3.04, and this fare should be the same from the North of course! If passengers need to change public transport modes it seems a pity to penalise them for it as well.

    Stitching these ticketing parts together will make the new terminal work really well, but I like where they are going with it. it’s a good step in the right direction and hopefully indicates more connected terminals everywhere in future.

    1. Hopefully the bike parking will be located on Victoria Wharf (the paved piece on the left hand side). This is where it was before they discovered the wharf was about to fall into the sea and closed it for repairs. Having it here allows cyclists to ride halfway to the ferry boarding area before dismounting. There’s also room there to put in a decent amount of covered bike storage.

  4. Wow. $24 Million. I can remember the last redo of that wharf and a couple of redos of queen st, and Lorne St. There are parts of Auckland that are really not that liveable at all. That have poverty and social problems and major layout issues and have vacant shops and pokies and TABs and $2 shops and need some investment and support with their economic strategies. . It’s getting pretty boring looking at our wealthiest suburbs getting paved in silver and then repaved in gold. Surely having an amalgamated council we could have addressed the economic disparity in Auckland. And we could lift the whole of Auckland.

  5. I think you’re over-thinking the scooter. A scooter shop is providing the prize (in exchange for a little publicity) – it’s not a precedent for AT unless the same or another scooter shop wants to provide one next time as well.

    1. Yeah, but 1 extra 2-stroke scooter on the road is another unnecessary source of particulate pollution. If it’s an electric scooter though that’s great, no particulate pollution, and a lot less spatial pollution.

      With 2 strokes the benefit of less road space it uses is swamped by how much they stink and the annoying noise. As a pedestrian I hate the smell, the noise and the taste of 2-strokes. I hate them outside my office window too and is one of the reasons (along with idling trucks) I have to wear ear plugs at work.

      1. I totally agree Matthew on all counts. A further point is that when you are driving, scooter riders sometimes sneak up between lanes but aren’t very visible being lower, wider and faster than a bike; some also seem awfully unstable. I have no problem with cyclists doing the same as they’re both more visible and more manoeuvrable. A few years ago I considered buying a scooter as alternative transport for local trips but ended up with a Segway instead, admittedly at 6x the cost but it doesn’t use any road space or emit any particulates, or even carbon dioxide! And there are significant time savings on short trips too – only today I made a regular trip, by car on this occasion, and it took literally twice as long.

      2. OMG – so now you have it in for the poor 2 stroke scooter. Lets get some things into perspective. Whilst a 2 stroke scooter does emit more particulate matter than a 4 stroke equivalent engine – it consumes a lot less fuel per km than a car so we should be happy people use them. Also the carbon footprint of your average 50cc is a lot smaller than a nasty pretend green Prius. Just remember how all that aluminium and plastic is made that wraps around the hybrid engine and the manufacturing process of making the batteries.
        Finally – while a whopping 25% of electricity is generated by fossil fuels any claim that electric scooters are pollution free is delusional.
        Scooters are a great people mover in cities. I have a nice speedy 180cc 2 stroke that I once got up to 160 kmph (on a track) – that is a lot more fun than any electric bike or Segway. Auckland should encourage more scooters. I suspect the problem with The Sheep of Queen Street is that when he looks out his office window he just doesn’t like to see anyone happy/

        1. Absolutely Phil. You are polluting much more foul petrochemical laced particulate matter into Auckland’s air than you realise, seemingly without giving a damn. You are part of the two stroke menace. The magnitude of the filthiness of the exhaust of 2-stroke engines negates any real or perceived benefit they might have. So yes bans would be best. I wrote a blog post about it.

          Anyone who thinks it is a good idea to have two-strokes on city streets should have a holiday in a Thai or Vietnamese big city.

          And as an aside, for anyone clicking on the link, I have since replaced my 4-stroke lawnmower with the LiIon battery one and it is brilliant. So I now maintain my acreage without petrol power tools. I’d never go back to petrol.

          1. Mathew, am not going to pretend a 2 stroke engine does not put out more particulate matter than a 4 stroke. Without even opening your link I understand how and why. Its all about not having valves and adding lubricant to the petrol mix – I grew up racing karts.
            That said – a scooter gets through a thimble of fuel compared to a car and if you burn 5L a week in your scooter that is a lot less carcinogens than burning 50L in a car. Also an EV is going to be using (rule of thumb) 25% Fossil generated power so its not clean either.
            Personally I favour Hydrogen as the fuel of the future but in the meantime Im happy to use what ever is available, My carbon footprint is pretty low.

          2. Thanks, for not even bothering to read it Phil.

            A 2-stroke engine puts out 90 times the particulate pollution of an SUV. And that is before it degrades over time and gets filthier.

            It is irrelevant that your carbon dioxide emissions are pretty low (although particulate matter, aka soot, is pretty high, which means your carbon dioxide equivalent emissions are pretty high). And even with your thimble full of fuel of petrol a 2-stroke engine puts out 90 times the particulate pollution of an SUV. And that is before the engine degrades over time and gets filthier.

            So there you go, you drive 90 SUVs. That’s a key figure Phil, please understand.

            And an electric scooter even powered 100% on coal powered electricity is magnitudes cleaner because they use so little electricity. And of course in NZ the electricity supply is more like 80% renewables. (And they scrub coal power station gases, and a 2-stroke doesn’t even have a catalytic converter)

            So what is in the emissions of 2-strokes:

            Particulate Matter (PMs) – causes cancers, sudden infant death, diabetes, and a host of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases

            unburnt hydrocarbons (HC) – about 30% of the fuel/oil mixture comes out of the exhaust unburnt, the petrol itself being a carcinogen, but also the other nasties found in petrol including benzene, which causes leukaemias. 30% of that thimbleful of petrol is now in the air ready to by breathed by pedestrians.

            Carbon Monoxide (CO)

            Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), which react with some of the unburnt hydrocarbons forming ozone (O3) which is a pollutant at ground level.

            I want your scooter off the road Phil. It should be banned. It is just too polluting. Likewise AT should have told the Scooter sellers to bugger off.

          3. Get a pushbike Phil, because that article sounds like special pleading, and it focuses on greenhouse gases (ignoring soot’s role in the same) and, like you, ignores the particulate pollution problem. The huge elephant in the room.

            If you don’t ignore the (90 times bigger than an SUV) particulate pollution these are the articles you’d write:




          4. I bought a 50cc 4 stroke scooter for my girlfriend. I thought it would save her some money on a short trip she makes every day to her riding school. Pfft – what a useless bit of kit it was. I used to ride 50cc 2 stroke scooters in Rome and they were zippy. This 4 stroke thing had as much go as an asthmatic smoking weed.
            Whilst I understand the need for 4 stroke bikes in India and China where they really have a pollution problem – these bikes are useless for Europeans. My Girlfriend is 53kgs and the bike struggled to get up hills.

          5. Thanks, Nonsense. I don’t think that product is really for me. It’d be a toss-up between that and a dog-poo candle really.

            I have since heard a worse sound than a 2-stroke engine; Kim Dotcom’s new album.

    2. Sorry, the “you” in that comment was Matt L, author of the post, who wrote:

      wonder what kind of precedent it sets – will it be something expected at all future station, wharf upgrades.

      I agree with you, Handlebars Matt, in so far that A. it’s probably a two-stroke scooter they’re giving away, and B. two-stroke scooters are pretty foul.

    1. All this was budgeted for in a spending frenzy in the last days of the previous North Shore City Council. It is also probably the end of super city spending in Devonport because the locals are very anti-density. They’re yet to make the connection between density and investment. Why would AC invest in a stagnating region? Unless the investment can be shown to have a region wide benefit there is simply no justification for it – other regions need it more. No density means no more sports fields, no more public transport frequency, no more funding for local organisations. It also means the Devonport main street will continue to struggle. No density means there is simply not enough people to support retailers and not enough young people with disposable income to support food and beverage. Ironically there is a whole floor of food and beverage tenancy on the wharf already that has been sitting empty since the 90s.

    2. Yes it does and I know the business owners there are really keen on that. They recognise that they need more residents in order to keep the businesses ticking over. They cant just survive on weekend visitors.

      However, the NIMBYs in Devonport have made sure that this is impossible by cutting down on the proposed chnages in the Unitary Plan. They of course think that apartments are the Devil’s work and refuse to accept that apartment dwellers will be more likely to use public transport, especially the ferries. The real concern is the perceived congestion on Lake Road – due to all the SOV – many heading into the CBD despite the great ferry options. You can blame company cars and free parking.

      I would like to see some apartments above the commercial area with no car parking but lots of cycle parking. That will increase the likelihood that any residents will adopt PT/cycling as their main modes of travel.

      1. Or more likely Goosoid, some SUV driving w**kers will park their SUVs smack bang next to the cycle parking area making it useless..

      2. Devonport is the author of it’s own demise. Nimby’s will get what they want and that is a dying suburb, with less and less to offer. With young people being out-priced and looking for more exciting places to live, Devonport is a dying breed, not without hope, but no hope is in sight at the moment.

        1. Ironically the saviour of Devonport might be Ngati Whatua. They own substantial swathes of ex-Navy housing. I don’t think they will be happy to keep these as modest 2.5 bedroom houses on 1/4 acre sections. Look forward to the hand wringing.

  6. I can’t really see that car parks are being removed and replaced with an enhanced urban space, that nice paved area is still a car park from what I can see, it’s just looks like they have converted a couple of angle spaces to parallel spaces and put some benches in between them. There are cars parked in the paved area and you can see the parking signs. Not sure about the removal of 37 long stay spaces either – are they reducing the number of spaces or just converting the long stay spaces to short term spaces?
    5.5 million for some nice paving for car parks, is this value for money?

    1. Why not spend your energy attempting to scale back the dozens of massive roading projects where 5 million is a rounding error, the fact that AC is even investing in a public realm upgrade should be celebrated. Certainly the area around the wharf has remained unchanged since I grew up in Devonport 30 years ago. In fact the only change was the demolition of the old and construction of the then new and always quite unpleasant wharf building.

      1. No issues with public realm upgrades, it’s with the claim that “Marine Square will be upgraded from a car park to an integral and appealing part of the village’s attractive new gateway”. Still looks like a car park to me, but with some fancy (expensive?) paving. Might just be images, not much to go on.

    2. Benidorm, I think you’ll find that is the pick up drop off zone an likely marked with a five minute limit. Good if you ask me.

      1. Thanks Nick, better than all day parking definitely, but do we need any car parks there in the first place, the whole area is a massive parking lot. Pick up drop off could be from any of the many other car parks right next to the new upgraded ” square”.

    3. To be fair the project also involves renovating the ferry building which has fallen into disrepair. It also included building a new over water terrace / walkway to try and activate the building by making an outdoor space on the leeward side.

      1. The ferry building was a failure the day it opened, it was cheaply built to begin with and despite being on the harbour always felt inward focused and lacked any connection to the sea. It’s about time it was upgraded and hopefully made into more of a success. It’s always slightly depressing arriving in Devonport to the selection of junky shops in that building.

  7. It is worth grizzling about a waste of public money anywhere and Devonport is a disgrace.

    Why is such money needed for the library when paper books are a dying species? Yes kids need books, but is this the best way to achieve it? And there is an excellent library at Takapuna that is a very short distance away.

    Yes Devonport will die because of the very limiting restrictions on development. In addition to density restrictions it is my understanding that you can’t alter more than 30 per cent of your home without resource consent. So if you want to put a new kitchen/ living area to replace that tired old lean to? Many just won’t be bothered in years to come.

    Arguably there are many villas/ bungalows that have been altered beyond all recognition. Why not let someone take the bulldozer to them? Is there any sensible reason to preserve half a historical house? We don’t do it with trees.

    And Lake Road is due for a 50 million upgrade. Where are all the extra vehicles coming from to justify this extravagance? The answer is that nothing will change in Devonport and yet the Council will spend truckloads on transport solutions in both directions that will have negligible economic return.

    My fervent hope is that this wasteful spending will stop here, but it won’t because the residents are well organised whiners.

    Ironically the next demand for Council expenditure will probably be to stimulate economic activity that for some obscure reason is not occurring.

    1. I agree that the Lake Rd widening is completely unnecessary and just imagine the cycling network that could be created in the area with that much money allowing so many more people to safely cycle to Takapuna to catch a bus or to Devonport to catch a ferry to town.

      If by Devonport will die you mean it will remain one of and indeed will become even more desirable, being one of only a few lovely beach side suburbs in Auckland in which you can walk to catch a ferry to town, walk to any number of great beaches, walk into the centre for shopping and a coffee, walk up one of the many cones, a suburb in which house prices continue to rise, then yes I agree it will “die”. If not, then I’m of the mind that the suburbs that will be dying are the currently unpleasant and far flung car and motorway dominated outer suburbs of Auckland. Devonport has to be one of the only places in the city without a motorway, without a planned motorway or without a motorway under construction. That fact alone will be enough for it to retain its allure for many many people for a long time to come.

      1. It is truly wonderful that so many people walk everywhere it seems around Devonport. It is less wonderful that so many want to screw others front yards by wanting to drive in such volumes out of Devonport.
        I stick by my comment that the commercial centre will die as there will be little incentive to invest where the population is stagnant. Residential homes will still remain attractive for a proportion of the population who are ok with being restrained by the restrictive planning rules.

    2. I understand though that the new lanes will be peak bus lanes. This has the potential to really make a big impact on the autodependence of residents – which is rampant right now. Many of my neighbours never leave their house except in a car.

    3. ” Where are all the extra vehicles coming from to justify this extravagance?”

      The question is, where will they go? If Devonport can’t grow, and it can’t and shouldn’t, why increase capacity, unless just to funnel more commuters to park at the wharf. Oh, but they’re taking away parking, and I have yet to hear of an upgraded ferry service. And widening of Lake Rd will destroy whatever quality it now has as a small-suburb kind of place. None of this makes sense. (But I, for one, want to win the scooter.)

    1. I’ve read that grumpy uninformed rant before. Sick if things taking ages to get to you? Then don’t live at the end of a long peninsula!

      This bit is classic self-entitled motorist:
      “, I can’t really understand why an expensive bus lane, which is used by maybe 2-3 buses an hour in off peak times, couldn’t be used for the likes of courier vans, concrete trucks etc.”

      If this guy was an actual journalist he might have done a touch of research and found out it’s actually used by 22 buses an hour in each direction across the day. Yes it isn’t congested with cars, no that doesn’t mean it’s not working nor that it isn’t moving a lot of people.

      1. Am a bit sympathetic to the idea that people should be able to pay to use transit lanes. Concrete trucks and courier vans higher priority to me than parents shuttling kids to school and these mythical car poolers that are going to save us from congestion and “expensive” PT investment (yeah right).
        Could be quite complex to do, but maybe receiver in vehicle that exempts people from the transit lane fines. And charge people $500 to $1000 year for the privilege. Though would not allow them to access buslanes, but could help mass rollout of all day T2/T3 lanes across the city.

        1. I would have thought a congestion charge kind of system using the technology already in place for the tolled motorways. That seems to work very well.

          And of course all money recovered goes straight into a fund earmarked only for PT/active modes – it cant be funnelled off to build more roads.

        2. We have that system right now, if you pay the fines as they come in. You’re just making the pricing more predictable.

          I don’t think vehicles would need a special receiver – just keep the number plates of registered vehicles on file and check the list before issuing a ticket.

        3. We don’t need “Lexus lanes” here in any form I think without a proper discussion first.. They don’t work elsewhere so why would they work here?

          If you want to go that route then they must be policed 24×7 not whenever some guys with a camera show up once a day.

          And that makes the fund raising aspect of them pretty moot as the collection and enforcement costs will likely outweigh the money raised.
          And if you don’t enforce them? Well they won’t make any money so why bother- just trashing the bus priority for no good reason?

          And the toll rate for people to use them? I suggest at least $50-$100 per day to use any of them – citywide would be about right.
          If your business is that important that you want to avoid congestion then you’ll pay, otherwise, join the queue like everyone else..

  8. Well, that will be a nice entrance from the ferry that will hopefully soften the blow of seeing the fortified bunker that will the library. Good ol’ 1960’s NZ architecture strikes again. (I’m hoping we skip the 70s.)

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