The council have released a draft 20-year master plan for the Auckland Domain that if enacted would see some major and positive changes to how people access and use Auckland’s oldest and one of its largest parks. The purpose of the master plan is described as:
The purpose of the Auckland Domain Masterplan is to identify all the various projects and work streams impacting on Auckland Domain, and to create a coordinating plan that consolidates its position as Auckland’s premier park. The masterplan is a twenty year aspiration for how the park can develop and help to achieve the Auckland Plan’s vision to make Auckland the world’s most liveable city.
The implementation of the Auckland Domain Masterplan will help to realise the particular Auckland Plan outcomes of:
- A fair, safe and healthy Auckland
- A green Auckland
- A well connected and accessible Auckland
- A beautiful Auckland that is loved by its people
- A Maori identity that is Auckland’s point of difference.
There are seven key principles behind the master plan and for each the draft plan lists observations and key proposals.
- Enhancing the Domain for peaceful respite.
- Enhancing the role of the Domain as an important cultural and heritage site.
- Creating safe, people friendly places and routes with high amenity.
- Improving connectivity to the Domain and to the key features within it.
- Improving the Domain as a recreation and event destination.
- Enhancing and maintaining the amenities and facilities within the Domain.
- Creating an environmentally sustainable park that is an exemplar on the world stage.
Of those number 3 and 4 are ones that will have some significant implications, especially on transport. The observation for number 3 says:
Since the introduction of motor vehicles to New Zealand, Auckland Domain has catered for their use, enabling vehicle access to the doorstep of the Auckland War Memorial Museum and throughout the park. This philosophy of a carfriendly park has carried on unchallenged for almost a century and even the Auckland Domain Management Plan 1993 is permissive of continuing their dominance of the park. The car and tour bus domination of Auckland Domain detracts from the safety and amenity of pedestrian and cyclist experiences.
Further, it prevents the full potential for creating high quality pedestrian environments in key areas of the park, such as those adjacent to the Museum. Cars and buses also detract from significant and important views from within the Domain, such as those to the Museum.
As part of the plan the council are proposing to close some of the roads within the park, upgrading and turning them over to people and bikes. This includes all of the roads currently circling the museum and the surface carpark at the southern entrance. Where vehicle access is retained it’s also suggested reduce the dominance of it by narrowing roads and reducing the numbers of carparks. The image below shows where they plan to improve walking and cycling options with the lines in red roads that will be closed. As you can see there are a lot of interesting projects on the list.
The map below shows more explicitly the areas that vehicles will have access to if this plan is approved.
Here are a few impressions of what the changes could mean.
The surface level carpark at the Museum could become a people space – although it looks like it needs some more activation to ensure it isn’t just an expanse of unused paving.
The Crescent would be narrowed and a shared path added.
The Grandstand Road would also become a shared path.
Through parks shared paths probably aren’t too bad but it does seem odd that they’re suggested to be so narrow at only around 3m in width and slightly less on the Grandstand Road one. Given how popular the Domain is, they would be used by a lot of people on foot and on bike. At the very least wider paths are needed.
Here is a list of some of the other amenity improvements that are included in the plan.
Overall there looks to be some good ideas in the draft plan that will make the park even better. Submissions are on it are open till the end of the month and there is an open day on Saturday February 13 at the cricket pavilion from 11am to 2pm.