Auckland’s city centre has rapidly been changing for the better but perhaps nothing screams Auckland of old as much as using prime waterfront space for a carpark. That carpark being the Eastern Viaduct Carpark, the next to the Maritime Museum and that links the city to Te Wero Island and North Wharf.
The good news is that from March next year, following the Volvo Ocean Race, the parking will finally be removed for good and all of the space handed over to people.
Panuku Development Auckland are now looking for feedback on what to use the space for. To do that they’re holding an event at the carpark this weekend.
The public’s ideas on how Eastern Viaduct could be shaped when it becomes free of public car parks are being welcomed by Auckland Council’s regeneration agency, Panuku Development Auckland. Public parking next to the Maritime Museum will be removed for good following the completion of the Volvo Ocean Race on 18 March 2018.
This is being done to prioritise the space for pedestrians and cyclists, and improve the connection between the waterfront corridor and Wynyard Quarter.
Panuku is inviting people to visit the area from 30 September to 1 October between 10am and 4.30pm to play the Place Game, a Project for Public Spaces tool that allows participants to share their thoughts on a space. The feedback will help inform the design brief for the space.
To help people imagine Eastern Viaduct free of public car parks, The Place Game will be available while parking is temporarily off limits to make way for The Auckland On Water Boat Show, which runs from 28 September to 1 October.
Chair of the Waitemata Local Board Pippa Coom says: “It is fantastic Panuku is taking steps to create a safer and more attractive space that prioritises people, at the Eastern Viaduct. “The Board supports a new public space which will enhance connections between the waterfront and city centre to cater for the growing numbers of visitors, workers and residents.”
The project is one of a number proposed as part of the refreshed city centre and waterfront plan, which Auckland councillors agreed to advance at a planning committee held last week (Tuesday, 5 September). Once public parking is closed, some vehicle movements on Eastern Viaduct will continue. Parking for berth holders will remain unchanged and service vehicles will be permitted access to deliver to businesses and restaurants on Viaduct Harbour.
Rod Marler, Director Design & Place at Panuku, says the removal of public car parks will improve connectivity, legibility, and visibility across the waterfront and encourage more people to explore the area, which sees about 1.9 million people pass through it each year. He says: “This is a great opportunity to design a quality public realm that prioritises pedestrians and cyclists, improves safety and enhances the quality of the visitor experience.
“In opening up the space to the public realm we’ve worked closely with Viaduct Harbour Holdings to ensure service delivery operations can remain in place so that businesses can keep growing and the area can continue to thrive.”
The nearest public parking to Eastern Viaduct is in Downtown car park, which has more than 1900 spaces including 19 mobility car parks. More mobility car parks are available on Princes Wharf and in Wynyard Quarter. For more information on The Place Game, visit: http://www.wynyard-quarter.co.