Takapuna is already one of Auckland’s most strategically important locations and that is only set to continue if the various plans, such as The Auckland Plan, The Takapuna Centre Plan and the Unitary Plan are ever realised. This is also why the centre is one of the key focus’ of Panuku Development Auckland. The various plans for Takapuna understandably focus on the core of the centre itself, and some of this includes the potential development of council own sites like the Anzac St carpark and the old Gasometer site.
As many of you may know from past posts, I spend my weekdays working in Takapuna, I see daily the huge potential the place has but I also think there’s a corner of Takapuna that seems to have been forgotten and left out of the discussion. This corner is Anzac St from Fred Thomas Dr to Auburn St.
Currently, from what I can tell, there is nothing in the council’s Long Term Plan that would see Anzac St upgraded, in other words changes could be more than a decade away
In this post I wanted to look at some of the reasons I think Auckland Transport need to consider making some changes to the street
The Unitary Plan
The Unitary plan allows for a lot of development in the Anzac St corridor southwest of the Takapuna metro centre. It almost exclusively zoned for Terraced Housing and Apartment Buildings (THAB – orange).
What’s more the corridor is ripe for development with a lot of older single storey dwellings and importantly, THAB development is already well underway. The houses that were renovated in the first series of The Block have already been moved off the site (or are about to be) and piling is already underway for. For example this image put together by reader Jochem shows some currently proposed and underway.
It wouldn’t surprise me that if over the next decade, we saw at least half a dozen more proposals developed and built. All up this could see thousands more people living in this corridor in a fairly short space of time and so Anzac St could see a lot more people walking, cycling and even catching the bus. If nothing else, we owe it to the thousands of potential new residents with a street environment that is no so hostile to them.
New bus network
Takapuna is already served by a large number of buses and that won’t change with the New Network, under which most reach Takapuna using Anzac St. From what I can tell – and we’ll have to wait till the tender process is complete to see the exact numbers – we have Takapuna served by 7 routes – although one route passes Anzac St twice so effectively 8 routes. This document also tells us just how frequent the routes are. The routes and their all day/peak frequency are listed below:
- N6 – 15 minutes all day, 15 minutes at peak (frequent route)
- N25 – 30 minutes all day, 15 minutes at peak (doubled route)
- N30 – 30 minutes all day, 15 minutes at peak
- N32 – 60 minutes all day, 60 minutes at peak
- N41 – 30 minutes all day, 30 minutes at peak
- N42 – 30minutes all day, 10 minutes at peak
- N46 – 30 minutes all day, 30 minutes at peak
Based on this, in each direction there are about 17 buses an hour using Anzac St all day and 27 buses an hour at peak times. I’m not sure what the rules are now but an AT document from about 2011 looking at how to determine if a route should have a bus/transit lane suggests that over 15 buses an hour should at least be considered for one.
I think it’s fair to say that at the very least, Anzac St (and Taharoto Rd) needs to have bus or transit lanes installed.
Walking and Cycling
Like many arterials in Auckland, Anzac St isn’t the most pleasant street to walk down. It has in places some relatively narrow footpaths that are set right next to the traffic lanes and they often contain obstacles such as power poles or stormwater catchpits that further narrow down the space available for people on foot.
Things are even worse for those on bike. Many of the roads that approach Takapuna, like Taharoto and Lake Roads. Those two roads already have at least painted cycle lanes but in both cases the lanes stop short of the actual town centre. I’m sure I don’t have to explain how silly it is to have bike lanes short of destinations. In the case of the western side, that was extended slightly last year to be just after the start of Anzac St.
I already see a number of bikes in and around Takapuna and I suspect the centre has the potential to be one of the most popular destinations by bike if we were to build the supporting infrastructure it needs.
How could it be upgraded
The Anzac St corridor is advantaged over many other arterials in Auckland by not having to also cater for on street parking. By my estimations, the street is 24m wide giving plenty of space to play with. Below is one option for how I think the road could be upgraded while all fitting in that 24m width.
As this could take some time, AT should look at what options they could implement to get a solution like this sooner. Perhaps that means some improved footpaths
Are you familiar with Anzac St, what do you think should happen to it? Like me do you think it needs some attention?