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:

  1. Our place in the world
  2. Accessible city centre
  3. Inclusive, engaging and child-friendly city centre
  4. Green city centre
  5. Public life
  6. Liveable city centre NEW
  7. Quality built form
  8. Heritage-defined city centre
  9. Sustainable city centre
  10. 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.

A concept for the Queen St/Shortland St intersection

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.

Green Link

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.

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  1. Mind boggling that they dropped the economy down to 10. Should be a top 3. This funds rates who pays them and gives people jobs and security. Seems like the ideology of staff is slipping in instead of common sense.

    1. Perhaps the economy of the city centre is doing fine and they don’t need to intervene? Clearly with employment and population rising much faster than previously projected there isn’t a need to focus on economic development.

      I’d say that have this right, when the city centre economy is already growing crazy fast, focussing on the effects and supporting factors should be the priority.

      1. Or maybe they know that retail in the likes of High St will die with the removal of on street car parking, not to mention the interruption of the project itself (think Albert St businesses).

        Overall I agree with many aspects of this project, but mess with retail at your peril. Have a look around Chancery to see the outcome of what a failed retail precinct looks like.

        1. Last time I was on High Street there was a $2 shop, I think the current arrangement is doing a pretty good job of killing retail there.

        2. Shoppers value quality of location far more than parking proximity (have a chat to the retail on O’Connell Street and ask if they would like parking outside their shops!)
          The majority of vehicles currently on High Street are tradies and office tenants, not shoppers. They can park in the large number of multi-stories in the area.
          The short-term disruption will be bad, agreed, but the long-term benefits are so great!

        3. The places inside chancery are having a revival, its the exterior frontage with tiny footpaths because of onstreet parking that have to work harder to overcome the lack of amenity.

        4. You’re right, it’s proven that driving along a narrow street and circling round and round for 25 minutes whilst getting angrier and angrier and eventually giving up and going to one of the multi storey car parks is really boosting High Streets thriving retail scene!

          Keep the jokes coming Matthew, good for a slow Monday.

        5. Your business would already be in pretty bad shape if that one parking spot at your frontage were enough to for all your customers.

          (especially if the shopkeeper’s car occupies that spot all day)

        6. Honestly, when was the last time you drove along High Street and got an on-street parking space near where you wanted to shop? Or are you just trolling?

          I walk High Street regularly and it’s clear that the overwhelming majority of shoppers there have arrived on foot. The biggest problem is that it’s a nightmare trying to navigate your way through so many pedestrians on a narrow footpath. Make it pedestrian-only and I confidently predict it will be an even more attractive destination than it is now. To the serious benefit of all traders in the street.

    2. No the rates are mostly funded by owners of residential property. Some of that is in the city centre but the overwhelming majority is outside the city centre. They are taking the view that if they collect enough rates from the rest and spend it all in the centre then the centre will be prosperous.

      1. I agree we should drop the general rate expenditure in the city centre and even the city centre targeted rate. We can replace the funding with a city centre congestion charge on SOVs. And it would still be prosperous.

      2. Now now MIffy, you know that’s not true. These projects are primarily funded by the city centre targeted rate, which is only levied on city centre properties specifically for city centre projects.

        Very nice of the city centre property owners to pay an extra rate, the fruits of which are enjoyed by over 200k people each day.

        1. Well, I should clarify I mean the projects apart from the Grafton Gully Boulevard and Dominion Road Junction. Those two would not only generate direct net revenue from the development of crown land, but they would also massively increase the rating base. So those two would reduce the impact of rates on the suburbs.

        2. Yes Nick R you mean excluding the expensive bits like Grafton Gully, CRL, Light Rail, the stations and anything that requires more than a bit of paving.

        3. No they are just really expensive projects that are required in order to allow the CCMP to occur. I guess that is the point. Push all the costs onto the region and capture all the benefits for the centre.

        4. Dominion Road junction just says it all. A guaranteed place to cause traffic jams, to create a wall of emissions from internal combustion engines idling or moving off, to hold up PT even more (like we need that), to have side on crashes at the conflicting lanes and a place for pedestrians to get bowled. And it will cost a fortune both on demolition and construction not to mention lost productivity during the half decade it takes to create yet another horror story of multiple main roads all meeting in one place. Brilliant!

          Just leave it alone, it works, its efficient and it’s as safe as a main road ever can be. Just because of the subjective aesthetics and a fantasy mini city that could built on it is not a reason.

          AC would better off buying a couple dozen houses in upper Richmond Road bowling them and building 20 story apartment and business towers if they really want to build a place for thousands of people!

        5. To Waspy: it may possibly be efficient for vehicles but it sure as hell ain’t efficient for pedestrians like me. It’s surely the biggest artificial barrier to walking and cycling that I can think of in the inner suburbs.

        6. Yes as a road it is infinitely better than a set of conflicting roads all pointing motor vehicles head on at each other in a massive intersection.

          And I too have used that many a time as a pedestrian, used every path, stairway and tunnel (grade separation!) and I have found it superior to any traffic lit intersection, especially safety wise.

          Apart from looks, which are subjective, what is the real problem?

        7. Waspman: The existing Dominion Rd flyover is one of the slowest bottlenecks for New North Rd buses. That’s because it goes from 2 lanes to 1 and the buses get caught amongst the traffic queued up by vehicles merging in on the far side of the junction.

          Although converting to lights will mean a chance of red signals, being able to run bus lanes through the intersection will speed up peek time buses considerably.

        8. Miffy you have it back to front, the CCMP projects are required because of CRL and light rail, not the other way around.

          In time, those two projects together will add over 30,000 more people *per hour* arriving in the city, or on the fringe at the likes of the Dominion flyover-Mt Eden station area. That’s more than the capacity of all the roads leading to the city centre combined, and all of them will be on foot once they step off the platform.

          The city rail link is happening right now, it alone will require the likes of the Victoria street linear park just to accomodate the require transport distribution capacity.

    3. But surely in a free market, neo-liberal paradise local government should be avoiding meddling in the city’s economy?

    4. Ditching last century’s auto-priority street pattern for walkability, place, air, water quality, and massive new Transit access IS economic investment.

      These moves are vital to support the continued growth in the urban services economy, which is the already here future. AKL is no longer the dreary provincial town of mid last century and nor is its economy.

  2. Really good stuff the ccmp. Still the draft is missing some important details for city centre’s future including some that were in the previous version.

    – with the Wellington St safety improvements it should be envisioned to include Western Park in the ‘Green Link’ accessible to CC residents
    – more info around the relationship with Aotea Quarter framework/new plan RFA is developing? There are major public accessibility issues/developments that need to be put in the wider context of ccmp..
    – putting into words again the intention to remove sliplanes from Vincent/Cook/Albert/Mayoral Dr intersection and address the severance caused by Mayoral Drive between residential areas and public amenities/shopping
    – more information on CRL related development in K Rd precinct such as increasing walking/cycling accessibility around Pitt St
    – increasing public transport between the fringe and city centre and within city centre to make it more feasible as a dominant mode

    Just some initial thoughts if you plan on submitting!

  3. Looks great and really hope they press ahead.. however, my mind tells me there will be consultation, watered down version, consultation, refresh, consultation then woah, 50 years have passed and I’m dead.

  4. Some fantastic ideas and great concepts in here but as ever the problem will be implementation. How is AC actually going to make it happen?

    1. The big difference is last time the growth predictions were tentative and contingent, and doubted by many. That, seven years on, they have been completely overtaken, and that the CRL is underway, means this is all getting urgent.

      I think it’s important to note how little has been revised, or at least abandoned, from the original plan, and the new additions, like the Grafton Gully Boulevard, are great… so I have a lot of faith in the people putting this together.

      Favourite thing? Albert Park tunnel! So cool having each side of inner Victoria St leading to the underworld!

  5. Damn, I am SO looking forward to dismantling the DomRd/NNR flyover.

    … anyone considered a pedestrian-bike motorway overbridge from Eden Terrace to Mercury St? Would massively increase walk-up patronage for the K’ Road train station and roll back another of the scars left by destroying Newton for the CMJ

    1. I walk through the Dom Rd Junction to work most days. Would love to see it gone. As well it would be good to see some great land bridges crisscrossing the CMJ maybe with parks, recreational facilities, cycleways and pedestrian walkways stitching the old innercity suburbs back together.

  6. In road cross sections they always show those bullshit trees where the foliage is a big ball shape at the top of a tall stick with traffic passing underneath. Can anyone explain to me how the tree will ever get that big with large trucks passing that close to the trunk? The answer of course is you have to plant 30 years before the road is widened.

      1. No it kind of fudges it. It suggests using natives and it suggests using large and fast growing trees that can be limbed up quickly. Does that mean they think in the short term it will be ok to have branches across the path of vehicles? Even if you can find a fast growing native will it survive as a stick that somehow grows straight up then has branches that will poke out after it gets to 4.5 metres?
        Guess why the authors fudged it? It doesn’t work. You can either have a straight tree or an existing tree but you can’t get any natives that grow as a stick to the required height then grows sideways, that is not how NZ forests work. So I am calling bullshit.

        1. Did you know that you dont have to grow the trees from scratch? About 200 years ago they developed a technique where you just transplant a semi mature tree.

        2. Yes have you ever seen anyone actually do that as part of a road widening scheme? What actually happens is people draw cross sections with massive trees on slender trunks to sell their road widening to the gullible and then when it comes time to built they plant a little stick, the stick grows up and out, trucks ‘prune’ the parts that jut out and we are left with tall sticks.
          These cross section diagrams are bullshit used to promote road widening.

        3. Whether the trees are native or exotic their natural growing environment is not the middle of a road. Any kind of tree can be trained by pruning and shaping, so natives can be used. For example the plane trees that you see on streets look very different from ones that have grown in the wild because they have been shaped and trained.

  7. The Dominion Rd Junction is a rare opp unties to do some large scale Transited Oriented Developer.

    Hope they are learning from best international example and don’t screw them up by building another Otahuhu style station that are land inefficient, are surrounding by waste lands.

    1. When built Otahuhu station served an area of large scale industry such as the railway workshops, steel plants, Southdown railway yards, fertiliser manufacturers and any number of medium sized manufacturing companies. Although there are a large number of import, service based companies, there still seems to be a large manufacturing sector here. It seems to have largely recovered. It was truly a wasteland in the nineties when so much industry closed down.

  8. Dominion Rd junction: “As an example of just how space hungry that interchange is, the CCMP suggests there is potential for 8,000 residents and 7500 workers.”

    That’s impressive, and indicative of how much opportunity there is to repurpose car infrastructure to prevent greenfields development. That many residences and workplaces means a lot of good fertile soil won’t need to be ruined, and a lot of maintenance-hungry roading won’t need to be built. Next?

    1. Does that seem even remotely credible? I just scaled the interchange as about 43,000sqm north of the railway and 4030 south of the railway or about 47,000sqm around the property boundaries. That is 4.7ha. Then you have to subtract 689sqm for 310 New North rd, 1750sqm for 4-8 Ace Place as they were included, giving around 4.5ha or 0.045sqkm. Then you still need to connect the two roads through so assuming 20m wide roads you need 6900sqm for New North Rd and 8000 for the Dominion to Ian McKinnon. That leaves about 3 hectares or 0.03sqkm so to fit 8000 residents that is a density close to 270,000 per sqkm or 3.5 times Kolkata nearly 4 times Manilla.
      Then they want to squeeze workers in as well?

      1. If you build 100 story skyscrapers taking up every millimetre of the remaining land, then yes, thousands can be accommodated.

        Pity anyone trying to get anywhere after AT’ s intersection and traffic light geniuses leave their legacy’s.

      2. You arent looking very hard if you only found 43000m2.

        I got over 100,000m2 when I last looked, including the Junction, surrounding wasted space and blank sites. Assuming 50% utilisation and 12 storeys average, that’s 600,000m2. Assuming 100m2 per apartment and average occupancy of 3 people per apartment, that’s 18000 residents.

        1. Well that is just fanciful. the point they make in the document is that tearing down the Dominion Rd flyover frees land for development. If you can scale that as 10 hectares then their is something wrong with the scale on your ruler. CMJ is closer to 10 hectares, Dominion Rd is a couple of bridges and some merges and diverges. a gain of 3 hectares is being generous, the rest is either already available or needed if you are still going to have two roads.
          As for your density projections all I can say is you had better find space within the Dominion Road flyover for the school needed to serve the people you claim will live within the footprint of the existing flyover, oh wait you can’t because the whole flyover is smaller than a single school.

        2. The city centre proves that you can have an area with 50,000 residents without a single school.

          (I don’t know if that is a good thing, or if the current policy is just very successful at keeping young families away)

        3. Yes that wasn’t a serious comment. Perhaps I should have just suggested he get a bus and write a slogan on the side saying ‘18,000 people Could Live at the Dominion Road Interchange” like a local Boris Johnson.

        4. Probably the point is also that not many would want to live right jammed next to an ugly flyover so any land already there is relatively worthless.

    1. Really good question, Jack. Definitely there in the 2012 version. Definitely not there in the 2019 version. Anyone know? That’s a point worth submitting on by itself!

      It’s the removal of weapons-grade ugly infrastructure like that which will allow a “quality built environment” make the city centre “liveable”, and of course, reducing road capacity is key to reducing traffic volumes.

      Anyone care to ask AT why that’s been dropped?

      1. Yes, the impact on buses is often cited. 🙂 You can’t give pedestrian priority on Great North Rd because of the impact on buses. Which happen to be tied up in general traffic.

    1. “The city centre masterplan proposed the removal of the Hobson Street flyover and the redevelopment of public space in this area. A change in scope over the last six years means that the current proposal is the two-way the flyover and provide better walking and cycling facilities.”

      And that’s all they say. A “change in scope”? Sounds like they … just … couldn’t … say … goodbye … to … capacity. Rates-wasters. What a lost opportunity.

      1. Yes walking & cycling would be so much easier & way nicer to fix around here without either the flyover or downtown carpark there.
        Not sure which is the worse one to keep. Certainly less on street parking could be made available around the downtown area if they are keeping the park building. It would mean other parking wouldn’t be so cheap either.

  9. Fantastic discussion and many many excellent and informed comments. Please keep them and any new ideas coming. Also interested in critique of ideas presented as well.
    Thanks ludo

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