Over the last year we’ve learnt about the council’s plans to refresh the City Centre Masterplan (CCMP), including some great new initiatives to make the city centre even better and more people-focused. The refresh is needed as the current version was adopted back in 2012 and a lot has changed over seven years. For example, compared to 2012:
- The number of people living in the city centre has more than doubled from 24,000 to over 57,000 – this level of growth wasn’t expected over even the 20-year span of the original plan.
- The number of people working in the city centre has increased by similar levels, from 90,000 to over 120,000
- Now more than 200,000 people visit the city centre
- Back in 2012, the CRL was still bitterly opposed by the former government and it was unclear if it would even happen.
- Light rail wasn’t on the plans.
- Billions of dollars of private investment has and is taking place around the city
While we’ve talked about some of the key concepts that are being included in the refresh a number of times, now it’s time to have your say on them as the council are now consulting on the CCMP refresh.
The CCMP is based around 10 strategic outcomes. These are by in large the same as in the original but wording has been updated and the priority of a few have changed around. The new ones are:
- Our place in the world
- Accessible city centre
- Inclusive, engaging and child-friendly city centre
- Green city centre
- Public life
- Liveable city centre NEW
- Quality built form
- Heritage-defined city centre
- Sustainable city centre
- Prosperous city centre
Detail on each of these can be seen here.
Access for Everyone
The biggest change to the CCMP is the addition of Access for Everyone which looks to change how people get around the city centre to help make the city centre more people friendly. This would also see the core of the city, Queen St and some of the surrounding streets, become pedestrian focused. Traffic flows in other parts of the city centre would also be changed based around the idea of eight other low-traffic neighbourhoods that you could drive in but not between.
The first trial of the kind of changes we will see with Access For Everyone is due to happen next month with changes to High St.
Along with the changes in access, it is intended to make the central Queen St area a zero emissions area. Currently it is the area with Auckland’s worst air pollution.
The Transformational Moves
To help achieve those outcomes, there are eight ‘transformational moves‘. Like with the strategic outcomes these have been updated.
I won’t cover all of them but a few key changes.
The East and West Stitch
The East and West Stitch is about tying together parts of either side of the city currently under-valued and cut off by major roads. On the western side this includes the need to retune Hobson and Nelson streets to “improve pedestrian amenity and connectivity“.
On the Eastern side this includes the idea of the Grafton Gully Multiway Boulevard. The idea is to re-develop Stanley St and The Strand from a pseudo motorway into a tree lined boulevard to support redevelopment in the area along with moving vehicles, including trucks to the port.
The area served by the boulevard concept is one of the big potential areas for redevelopment and could be home in future to thousands more residents and workers.
Rapid Transit Oriented Development
In the first CCMP the City Rail Link filled this spot but since then not only is the CRL actually happening, but we’re looking at Light Rail too along with improving east-west bus connections.
At the very bottom there you will also see ….
Dominion Rd Junction
One of the new projects included in the refreshed CCMP is what is being called the Dominion Rd Junction. This would see the out of place motorway style interchange between Dominion Rd/Ian McKinnion Dr and New North Rd torn down and would free up a heap of land that could be redeveloped. It is something we’ve supported for many many years. As an example of just how space hungry that interchange is, the CCMP suggests there is potential for 8,000 residents and 7500 workers.
The Green link comes from the first CCMP and is a vision of creating a connection between the future Wynyard Point Park, Victoria Park, Albert Park and the Auckland Domain. The central sections of this is also known as the Victoria St Linear Park – the work on the business case and conceptual design is underway right now.
The proposal to re-open the Albert Park tunnels has been included in this and one interesting inclusion in the refresh is the suggestion o tunnel entrance on the eastern side of Victoria St to mirror the Aotea Station entrance on the western side. I’d also note that the inclusion of the tunnels proposal in the document and on the various maps really highlights how valuable that would be – we really need this to happen.
There’s other good stuff in the documents too so have a look and give some feedback. Consultation closes on October 18
PS: take note Auckland Transport, if the council can do consultation on important issues during the middle of an election cycle, surely you can stop cowering in the corner about changes and consultation.