While the beach may be the soul of Takapuna, Hurstmere Road is perhaps it’s commercial heart. Working in Takapuna, it’s a heart I know well (in fact at the time this post is published I’m probably walking along it to get some lunch) and it could definitely do with a bit of love.
The upgrade of Hurstmere Road was identified as a key project in the (former North Shore City Council’s) Takapuna Strategic Framework, which set the vision for developing Takapuna. It was also identified in the Auckland Plan as one of the key metropolitan centres for growth and development.
Hurstmere Green’s recent redevelopment, with a more convenient and natural flow of people between the beachfront and the shopping area, will be enhanced by making Hurstmere Road a more people-friendly space.
Hurstmere Road already enjoys a large amount of foot traffic, which is set to increase from population growth and intensification in the area. In order to effectively develop the Takapuna town centre, we need to improve pedestrian facilities to move a greater number of people.
The streetscape is also due for an upgrade from a maintenance and quality perspective, with additional issues around sidewalk quality, overshadowing, street lighting, bird nesting, and vegetation.
This project provides an opportunity to install robust infrastructure that will serve the Takapuna community long into the future.
The comments about needing an upgrade from a maintenance and quality perspective is a bit understated. The footpaths are in places an outright hazard with undulating surfaces as a result of both age and repeatedly being dug up by various service companies.
While AT claim in their material that they’re ‘transforming’ the street, I don’t think I’d quite go that far. To me, what’s planned doesn’t quite meet the dictionary definition of “make a marked change in the form, nature, or appearance of“.
At the core of the upgrade, AT plan to reduce this section of Hurstmere Rd to a single northbound traffic lane with a 30km/h speed limit. Southbound traffic will need to use Anzac St and then Lake Rd. This should help reduce some of the vehicle dominance that can often occur, especially southbound due to the intersection with Lake Rd. This remaining lane is also intended to be level with the footpath, which they claim “will help create a low-speed environment and encourage a more natural flow of people between restaurants, shops, and other businesses“. However, it’s not actually a shared space and so will feel much more like a road and I’d expect drivers to treat it accordingly. As such, while it definitely will be better than what exists today, I’m not convinced it will quite live up to the expectations AT claim.
Along with reducing the traffic lanes, AT are also proposing to half the number of carparks on the street from 56 to 28. This is expected to see the amount of space on the street dedicated to roads and parking reduced from 48% to 25%.
While the road will be changed to one-way for cars, AT also plan to install a 1.5m southbound only cycle lane so that those on bike can travel in both directions. They say it will have “a different surface material and clear separation from vehicle traffic” but it’s not clear how that separation will work given they also say the road will be level. It seems more likely drivers will just ignore the cycle lane and use it for car parking.
The is also intended to allow for Hurstmere Rd to easily be used for events and markets and would be a logical place to put the Sunday markets that will need to move from the Anzac St carpark.
Let’s see what AT have planned. The legend applies to all images.
At the Lake Rd intersection, AT plan to not only remove the left turn slip lane but prevent left turns altogether. These changes will also likely simplify this intersection and allow for a faster cycling of the Barnes Dance that exists which would be good. The pedestrian crossing shown is new and a welcome addition.
In the central section, the road is diverted to give more space to Hurstmere Green which will have in-ground water features added. The diversion should also help in forcing cars to travel slower and therefore increase safety which is good. It also appears that AT will be removing quite a few trees to provide parking for. here
The northern end of Hurstmere finally gains a zebra crossing, so too does Anzac St and The Strand. The latter of those will finally mean the removal of the “motorists have the right of way” signs that currently exist. Again, there does appear to be quite a few trees that could be being removed to provide for parking.
Here are some design images from ATs website, they also include versions where the road has been closed for markets.
What do you think of the proposal?