This post is on behalf of Leroy from Generation Zero. This campaign is supported by Greater Auckland and Bike Auckland.

Linear Park is an incredible idea. It’s a park/walkway/cycleway running from Victoria Park to Albert Park. It would open up a grey, underused part of the city to people, and connect our CBD’s green spaces. It’s a place for the skyrocketing number of inner city residents and people in town to use for study, work, and fun. Our city center is transitioning from a place for cars and little else to a place for people. Linear Park is leading that change. It’s very very cool.

The best part is it’s not just a dream. It’s already part of the plan for the center city. The Mayor, the head of the council planning committee, and other councillors are all big supporters of it. All going well, within a few years Linear Park will be a reality.

BUT those plans are in turmoil thanks to Auckland Transport and the University of Auckland.

From this very good Greater Auckland post:

“Just days after the council made it abundantly clear that they supported the Victoria St Linear Park and wanted the agreed City Centre Master Plan implemented, AT have launched consultation for the Midtown bus route, which if they go with their preferred option, openly defies the council by preventing the Linear Park from being possible.”

The notes for the preferred option state: “This route will make it difficult to reduce the number of lanes on Victoria Street, as part of a planned future upgrade of Victoria Street.” That future upgrade would be the Linear Park, and by difficult they mean impossible.

The reasons behind their proposal are confusing.

Greater Auckland uncovered documents showing that the University of Auckland have been lobbying in secret against Linear Park. They’re against any plan that would send buses past their new science building.

There is another option though! What AT call Option Two and what we are calling ‘The Route That Would Save Linear Park’. This option also happens to provide a quicker, more direct route for students at both the University of Auckland and AUT. That’s why it’s supported by Generation Zero, Bike Auckland, and Greater Auckland.

So we have fired up our quick submit machine again. In less than a minute you can show AT what kind of city Aucklanders want.

We need to send a clear message that Linear Park is not something we should have to sacrifice simply because the University of Auckland are whispering in AT’s ear. This park is a vital step in the right direction in making Auckland a city for people, and we need to make our message heard loud and clear. I need your help to get the message out. Submit here, and then share it with your friends and family to spread the message as far as you can. Our submission form here will send a message straight to Auckland Transport to ensure they get the message that we need to pick Option 2 and save the Linear Park.

I need your help to get the message out. Submit here, and then share it with your friends and family to spread the message as far as you can. To help explain the issue we have made some simple graphics and a video – you can share these too to help people understand the issue quickly and easily.

Note submissions close on Sunday, so get yours in soon. The official AT submission page is available here if you prefer to use this instead.

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  1. Style guide – is it “Linear Park” or “the Linear Park”?
    I’d think “the Linear Park” rather than the former, which is appropriate for geographical/unique places i.e. “Victoria Park”, “Albert Park” (cf. “the sports park”, “the green park”). Linear merely a non-unique adjective here. Over time however language changes and “Linear Park” may become idiomatic, but until then, let’s let language take its own time.

    1. I agree in part, because it leaves the green park alone… BUT… it is not as clear and simple as in terms of the bus routes (it adds unnecessary complexity and extra traffic lights – slower), it removes the potential option of bus interchange on Wellesley St under Symonds Street. Minor disadvantages is that it is also further for students to walk from Universities. So still option 2 is the best.

  2. I suggest turning it 90-degrees and running it the length of Queen Street. At least there is a reason to hang out there. Victoria St is just somewhere to pass by quickly. Putting a few struggling trees and some benches in won’t change its function.

    1. Changing street layout won’t change its function? I’d better go and tell the entire traffic engineering profession that they are wrong.

        1. They say ‘when in Rome’ and this is your comment thread.

          If you expect better responses then lay better bait.

    2. I see that as the whole point Miffy. Victoria St intercepts a whole lot of paths and routes. It’s the little place to stop and enjoy on the way across, rather than expecting many people will walk the length of it.

    3. By the time you have a generously apportioned main street, plus a light rail connection up Queen St, where would the rotated linear park fit in?

  3. I am 1000% behind this, but I will keep pushing for the entire CCMP to be considered as a whole, rather than in parts. The volume of buses on Wellesley street is going to be crazy high, and there is a very specific goal (Move 2) in the CCMP regarding victoria quarter in the ‘east-west-stitch’ – reconnecting the CBD to ponsonby and freemans bay. While there are plans for Nelson and Hobson streets, Cook Street isn’t getting even the faintest consideration, nor is Wellesley. For all the good of the linear park, by focussing on it in isolation we forget the other goals. Wellesley Street overflowing with buses impacts the entire Move 2, isolates Victoria Park and entrenches the severance in the area.

    I’m not suggesting the linear park be changed in any way. We need to stop looking at things in isolation and consider the city as a system.

    1. Cook St suffers from the absurd NZTA road harbour crossing plans. They have a vice like grip on it as part of this City ruining programme… it can only be reasonably planned for once they are faced down and this project gets politely rejected in its current form.

      1. Is that actually true, or just politically expedient?

        Couldn’t the council just say ‘nah, we’re reducing Cook Street to one lane now and you can fight us to widen it back if and when you want to build your motorway’?

  4. I voted for option 1. The bleak grey photo sold me straight away. Linear Park shminear park. It will just become a dark, slippery, wet disaster half of the year. Moar cars and smoke belching buses is progress! Also, we can’t harm the Science building!! Are you guys one of them groups against science and stuff?!? Why are you attacking the poor scientist dudes just trying to survive. Why doesnt anyone think of the poor scientists? They sent men to the moon to start mining cheese. I like cheese pizza. What were we talking about again?

    If they made Quay Customs into a one way pair, you could have linear parks on each of them as well. One way roads are so much more efficient which means less road space required for the same amount of cars.

  5. The more I look at it, the more I like option 3. It serves students of both AUT and UOA quite well, generates less bus traffic along the already dangerous-to-cross Symonds St, and doesn’t concentrate so many buses in Wellesley St uphill from the library. On top of that, we still get to look forward to a nice new inner-city park.

  6. You can tell the images are bullshit because they show a building on the Elliot/Victoria/Albert St corner. That will never happen.

    1. Someone has to go bankrupt on a tallest/biggest/most expensive development to signal the next recession. We may as well fill in this parking crater in the process.

  7. I’m not convinced the linear park is the right way to go.

    I realise the design is very preliminary but I don’t see much merit in what is shown to date. It looks fancy, I guess.

    Based on what I’ve seen, it wont be very park-like. Large sections won’t get much sunshine and the space is exposed on both sides with no real sense of enclosure. It’s too small for any real activities.
    – Many buildings along Victoria St (southern edge) don’t (and won’t) have activities that open to the street..large sections won’t have verandas, for example.
    – It’ll still be a fairly busy road (people and cars), not exactly restful. and it’s on a decent slope.
    – I’m not even sure what the point of the grass is. Dog poop area? Slip n Slide?

    The real value would be a transit axis for peds and cyclists, plus an outdoor drinking/dining opportunity. These specific functions don’t take loads of space and don’t even require a strong linearity (well cycle paths do)….we really just need larger footpaths, decent cycle lanes and a few trees/hedges. Shared spaces and smaller streets/lanes offer much better potential for outdoor dining & activities.

    Most importantly, these functions should be available on most roads (at least 1 side), not just Victoria St.

    Given the City has a very limited design budget….I advocate for NO “linear parks” but instead spending the money on upgrading two or three streets (eg Victoria, Wellesley and Customs?) with proper cycle lanes, wider footpaths and basic landscaping… I even suspect this could be done cheaper than one overly-designed “linear park”.

    I really think we should all be focusing on the projects that will actually help make our city great:
    Queen Street and Quay Street upgrades/pedestrianization…..
    …..And at the same time spending our design budget on fixing some of the really crap areas: Hobson St, the Nelson/Fanshawe/Sturdee St ……and adding little ‘pocket parks’ everywhere where we can find 100sqm of space for a kiosk and a patio.

    Bus routes can be altered. Double decker electric/hybrid buses should be considered more to avoid overcrowding & noise etc.

  8. I suggested to have option one BUT a pair of one way traffic with only 2 lanes each. (1 bus lane, and 1 general traffic).

    It flows better and keep everybody happy.

    1. Its a great idea in general but I would like to see 2-3 of these in the CBD. Captain Cook Wharf (eventually), Wynyard point, Aotea Square.

      They could be used day and night for organised futsal, touch rugby, etc. Could see them being very popular with workers (and residents) wanting a lunchtime or after work activity.

      1. It was always an issue with me when I was at UoA in the dark ages that it was illegal to kick a ball around in Albert Park. And there were no alternative spots

    2. JDELH, these streetscape upgrades are funded by the CIty Centre Targeted Rate, which is levied on city centre businesses and ringfenced for city centre street improvements. So your trade off is zero, if not Victoria St then the money gets spent on another street in town.

      If you did want to all weather some playing fields, perhaps you should promote a similar targeted rate for the neighbourhoods that would benefit?

  9. I don’t imagine that this is easy to take on at this stage, but the linear park for Victoria Street West (itself doubling as a cycle route) has at least one significant disadvantage: it’s quite steep for bikes on both sides of the Queen Street Valley. The connection to Albert Park is also difficult at the Victoria Street East end due to the topography. A better east-west cross-route in terms of park access and in terms of cycling is Wellesley Street. If it could be wrestled free from the buses, it might also make a better site for the linear park, being actually a straighter route between Albert Park and Victoria Park (check the map), but also a route that links up key central city public facilities—both AUT & Uni of Auckland, The City Art Gallery, the Library, the Civic, Aotea Station, St Matthews, the old Council Workshops, and then Victoria Park Market. Of course this would mean foregoing the symbolic value of Victoria Street for Council’s urban designers, a value derived from the Felton Mathew Plan. At a practical level a cycle route on Wellesley gives better access to both universities. At the east end of Wellesley Street, where it passes under Symonds Street, there is also the possibility (and the room if you look) for pushing a green/cycle path down to the Grafton cycleway. From there a pedestrian/cycle bridge might cross the Grafton motorway and link into the Domain. On this basis the city would get a comprehensive linear park spanning the entire city and linking up its major green spaces. In terms of the buses, perhaps AT utilise their option one bus route but in both directions, thereby freeing up Wellesley Street entirely. If the University of Auckland needs the buses to run across the full length of their Symonds Street frontage to prevent long walks for students and staff, surely they need this in both directions anyway (or the advantage they gain only applies to people arriving at the campus, not departing).

    1. I see it’s good what you say from the cycle and access point of view but for more and mores buses that way further down would be horrible. Another idea is buses down Wakefield, mayoral then Victoria and same in reverse. That would screw the car corridor up and be crossing the Wellesley st park. Compromises either way you look at it.

  10. The slopes on Victoria St do suggest fantastic water play. A demonstration of how to take road runoff and use the soil and well chosen plants in a series of terraces to filter out the pollutants and make a gorgeous clean water by the bottom. Great way to show what we should be doing instead of whisking the foul runoff out to our waterways in pipes that get blocked and then flood… all that could fit in around plenty of sitting and play spaces, with waterfalls making a lovely water noise that blocks some of the traffic noise. And ever-changing, as it’ll all come alive when the rain comes again. Could be a one-in-a-kind delight.

  11. In other words, I agree with dr. Let’s not tinker with the CCMP. It needs our full support. Otherwise, they divide and conquer. Each location has its advantages and disadvantages for a park, and as I’ve shown, Victoria St’s slope provides a unique opportunity that could make it really special. But if we can’t be united on the CCMP, we’ll get nothing. As Guevara said “the left make their firing squads in circles”, (probably misquoted, but you get my drift.)

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