Five months ago I wrote a post calling for the council to implement a regular Ciclovia event – or Sunday Streets as it’s known in the US. At the time local board member Pippa Coom said the the local board had already been working with the council on the idea and that there was a good chance one would happen. Well the great news is one is happening this Saturday.

Aucklanders will get a taste of Quay Street’s potential as a world-class waterfront boulevard this Saturday as it is closed off to traffic for the cycle-themed street carnival, ‘Ciclovia on Quay’.

Delivered by Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and Waterfront Auckland, the city’s harbour edge from Britomart Place through to Silo Park in Wynyard Quarter will be car-free for the enjoyment of people on foot, bikes, scooters and skateboards from 10am to 4pm.

An array of family-friendly cycle-themed activities will span the length of the event and will include cycling obstacle courses for all ages (bikes provided), bike decorating and bike maintenance tutorials, interactive games, face painters and a children’s carousel. The Velociteers, Auckland’s only synchronised bike dancing group are set to wow the crowd, as will a game of bike polo from the Auckland Hardcourt Bike Polo Club.

The ever popular Silo Park Markets and the Britomart Markets will be in full swing and there will also be a chance to participate in hands on, live and static displays at the Volunteer and Emergency Services expo on Queens Wharf.

The event is one of several Auckland Council place-making initiatives planned for Quay Street and aims to give Aucklanders a taste for what the Quay Street area may be like in future years. It is part of council’s long term vision to transform Auckland into the world’s most liveable city.

Mayor Len Brown says, “The new shared spaces at North Wharf and Wynyard Quarter have been an extraordinary success and it’s fantastic to see that vibrancy extending to Quay Street through events like Ciclovia on Quay. We have a unique opportunity in Auckland to merge the beating heart of the city centre with the water and Quay Street is an important part of that vision.”

Auckland Council Design Champion, Ludo Campbell-Reid adds, “We listened to the feedback from Aucklanders during consultation on the City Centre Masterplan 2012 and the Waterfront Plan 2012, which was to create a more vibrant people-focussed city and in the case of Quay Street, to reconnect the city with the harbour.”

“Currently Quay Street serves the city as a major traffic arterial but its potential for greenery and recreation and as a high-quality pedestrian amenity remains untapped. We think events such as Ciclovia on Quay are the perfect way to test Aucklanders’ appetite for the potential Quay Street has as a people-friendly world-class waterfront boulevard.”

Ciclovia (si-kli-vi-a) is a Spanish term that means ‘bike path’. The Ciclovia event has its origins in Bogotá, Columbia where every Sunday and public holiday certain main streets are blocked off to cars for runners, skaters and cyclists. Ciclovia events have become popular worldwide with many major cities following the trend. 

Ciclovia on Quay is a free event.

It’s great that this event is happening and something I hope happen on a regular basis and that grows over time to cover more of the central city along with events in other parts of the region. That will only happen if lots of people turn up for the events which is something else I hope happens although the organisers haven’t done done themselves any favours by arranging it on a day when no trains are running to Britomart due to electrification works.

Len Brown will also be at the event from 12-1:30 and will be taking a ride along the waterfront with anyone who wants to join him. I wonder if he will be kitted out in all of the hi-vis gear he wore on the Campbell Live piece the other day?

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  1. How is closing 250 m of Quay St for cars for 6 hours on a day with no trains give anyone a taste of a great, liveable, car free environment? At the Triathlon, a fair length of the waterfront was finally free from noise, fumes and killing machines, and it did not seem too hard to arrange for this. Anyone serious about giving people a taste should not feed them breadcrumbs.

    1. To be fair, it is over 650 m that get closed, a sizable stretch.”Britomart Place” is the street east of the Westpac Building, not QEII square as some may think.

        1. Correct; we mocked one up in the space of a couple of hours with some green astroturf, and a pile of delineators of various kinds. A few of us were generally on hand to explain how it worked (“treat it like a roundabout!”) and there was also a survey to get feedback on people’s preference for the different kinds of separators we had (planters, posts, zebras, etc). In general we had good feedback from people on both the Dutch intersection and the separators – and the kids loved going round and round and round on their bikes!

          1. We didn’t change the traffic signal phasing, but we did stick transparent cycle logos over the green lights to mimic cycle signals! Without motor actual traffic on the day, there wasn’t much point in setting up separate car-bike phases.

  2. Half done as usual, the kiwi/AT way. What about doing it all day or even AT NIGHT. Jesus, Saturday night it’s already full of people down here, what best moment? And of course nobody has heard of it…

    1. No really I can’t get over it. Until 4pm? What are we, kids? Are they scared the boogie man comes out in the evening and kills everybody on a bike?

  3. “Len Brown will also be at the event from 12-1:30 and will be taking a ride along the waterfront with anyone who wants to join him. I wonder if he will be kitted out in all of the hi-vis gear he wore on the Campbell Live piece the other day?”

    I wonder what or who he will be riding.

  4. Why a Saturday? Many of us are involved with kids Sat sport etc. – Sunday would seem to be a lot better choice of days to get people along.

  5. Until such an event extends to St Heliers Bay on at least one weekend day for at least the summer I am afraid afraid its just mayoral p in the wind. While we are at it can we close the Domain and Cornwall park and Mount Eden to weekend traffic also …..

  6. Bit of a conundrum this one really.

    Turn up and we tacitly approve of AT’s timidity in only doing a small part of the Waterfront for 8 hours on what is probably going to be the quietest Saturday traffic wise this summer.
    [due to the Extended long weekend with half of Auckland out of town since Wednesday night].

    And with no trains running to boot – showing even KR *and* AT think its a “waste of time running trains” this weekend as no one is at home..

    But don’t turn up and we give the AT naysayers who say Aucklanders don’t want such events a reason to say “well we told you so”.

    On the whole I think its better to come and complain to AT both there and afterwards about how bad it was (or wasn;t) and suggesting ideas on improving the next ones than not showing up and never get a second one ever.

    So on that basis I’ll probably (cycle) on in to Quay Street to show my face/wave a flag then take a ride to the Harbour Bridge and gaze longingly at Northcote Point and ponder on exactly when I’m going to be able take a ride over to see Northcote Naysayer Phils garden and lawns. Then cycle (slowly) back home into a bloody stiff easterly the whole way.

    Thanks AT and KR for such poor planning in not having any trains running!

  7. Just back from the event. I thought it was a good start but overall it was very limited with just one small stretch of Quay Street opened to cyclists and pedestrians. I also thought it was too over-engineered; most pedestrians stuck to the footpath and as a cyclist it felt very weird cycling on Quay St as I didn’t feel particularly welcome. Balloons instead of cones would have helped.

    1. And not even the full stretch of both sides either- Between QE2 Square and Lower Hobson drive the left lanes of Quay were still open for traffic to use (Buses mainly I assume).
      And cars/taxis etc were coming on going from the wharf the Hilton is on as well.

      On the whole not that adventurous AT. So lets have another one where you pull all the stops out eh?

    2. Easy to say more should have happened; but it did happen and that’s the important thing for a first time event. Baby steps, more to come.

      I loved the looks on kids faces as they whizzed along one of our major traffic sewers. And I can forgive the PT slip up given the timing coincided with the emergency services day on queens wharf; that was great for getting lots of families on the street. From what I remember most of the parked vehicles along quay had bright colours and flashing lights….

  8. Sending cars down Britomart Place a bad idea too, big traffic queues here. Easily could of been avoided by sending people down Tangihua which is much more suited to the traffic volume. Taxis were still using Quay St by the Copthorne, but access could have easily been kept just from Hobson St.
    Really want to be happy about this, and not complain every time, but simple stuff just goes wrong every time, very frustrating.

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