Thank you, local government candidates. The sacrifice of your time, energy and privacy is deeply appreciated, whether or not you achieved the position you sought. Your standing provided us with choice. I believe the election has delivered a good team of representatives to help keep this city ticking along and improving. And I appreciate that Auckland Council’s general manager of Democracy Services, Marguerite Delbet, has responded to the low turnout with a clear indication that we can expect change:

I think the whole question of interest in local elections and how we make them relevant for people will definitely be a subject of discussion after the elections close. I think this election has shown it’s the end of postal voting and what we do next will be a subject of discussion next week.

Some people who didn’t vote may simply have felt that voting doesn’t make much difference to action on the ground. I’d like to challenge that. There’s a lot that even local board members can achieve. Some of the biggest challenges we face are best tackled at the local level.

In Friday’s post about Japan, Malcolm asked the question, “What are some small steps that could be taken toward this model?” That was a great question, and I’d extend it to a more general one: What are some small steps that our representatives can take to help fix the problems of our city? Problems described by the government in its discussion document, Planning for Successful Cities:

a startling array of indicators in housing and urban development tells us we have a problem: severe housing unaffordability, falling home ownership, increased hardship and homelessness, increased household debt, intergenerational inequality, congestion, poor transport choice and urban pollution.

Council land, Council facilities, Council money, Council authority… Council certainly has the asset base and power to be taking many small steps towards a better city. Some great progress is being made that will have good, long term consequences: local boards have been establishing (active mode) greenways in Puketāpapa, Mangere, Henderson, Waitakere and elsewhere. In Henderson, council carparks are being replaced with mixed-use development including housing.

Henderson C40 Reinventing Cities mixed-use residential housing sites

But good decisions are certainly not happening city-wide. How discussions with the public are framed, the nature of projects proposed, which projects receive funding and what conditions are imposed seems to depend somewhat on the understanding or commitment of the elected representatives involved.

The Business – Neighbourhood Centre Zone at Upland Road allows for 3-storey development.

As examples, the public heard recently at a meeting in Mt Eden that members of the Orakei Local Board and the Albert Eden Local Board were considering “scheduling” the entire Upland Rd and Mt Eden villages, respectively. Scheduling a property means listing it in the Auckland Unitary Plan to manage any alterations to it and to protect it from being damaged or demolished, and is done to protect heritage buildings. Several buildings are already scheduled in each of these local centres.

Upland Rd Shops: appropriate for 3-storey development as currently allowed, or in need of “scheduled” heritage status?

Of course, with the election, these proposals may easily now be shelved – several members on each of these local boards are new. But if the idea is being pursued further, we need to hear more. Scheduling an entire ‘village’ or shopping centre – beyond a few character buildings to retain a sense of history – is misappropriating a heritage mechanism to prevent development, and is in clear defiance of the compact city strategy, transit-oriented design principles, taking action on the housing crisis and the Auckland Unitary Plan’s zoning objectives.

Mt Eden Village: Appropriate for 4-storey development as allowed in the “Business – local centre” zone, or in need of “scheduled” heritage status?

Elsewhere, some elected representatives still haven’t joined the dots yet about too much traffic and parking supply. Instead of realising that the transition to a multi-modal transport network requires a steady reduction in parking supply, they respond to the public’s “demand” for parking by adding new parking lots on council land.

North Shore United AFC’s home ground of Dacre Park, receiving 43 new carparks.

Council should ensure these criteria from the AT Parking Strategy are met – for example, the existing parking should already be dynamically-priced, and local planned public transport alternatives would need to be insufficient – before entertaining the idea of investing in off-street parking or allowing it on Council land:

Long-standing problems of poor pedestrian or cycling amenity at some facilities on Council land often remains unresolved unless a project involving extra parking is proposed.

The zoo carpark has long been a barrier to families trying to cycle or walk to Western Springs Park

I’m particularly interested in what will happen if the recent consultation on urban development results in steps towards a compact city finally being taken seriously, with development that isn’t based around the needs of the car, and doesn’t create sprawl through inefficient use of land for parking.

Will local board members respond with real leadership, fulfilling their legal roles to help the Council plan for future generations? Or will they cave to calls for mitigating the loss of on-street and private parking by supplying more Council off-street parking?

Will they continue to ‘solve’ the problems of contested expensive road space by establishing residential parking permit schemes? Or will they retain the council’s ability to keep that public space for public uses like wider footpaths, pocket parks, safe cycling, or outdoor seating.

Of course, these problems are not unique to Auckland:

a common scenario in Australia and internationally is the political challenge of replacing [on-street parking] with [active and sustainable transport] mode priority infrastructure due to local resident and commercial trader resistance, particularly in activity centres where competing needs are high…

there is fundamentally an existing entrenchment bias towards status quo understandings, assumptions, mechanisms and imaginations, coupled with a generally poor understanding of car parking dynamics…

To help elected representatives take opportunities to solve our problems, Council’s existing plans are here, ready for service. They already prioritise a liveable, safe, compact city that contributes to climate action, by:

That more marked change hasn’t resulted from these plans flags a need for reflection. Where we’re seeing poor outcomes, it’s from business-as-usual mindsets, not the plans themselves. Sadly, even progressive representatives have had to ‘compromise’ with regressive colleagues. This shouldn’t be necessary. Following the declaration of a climate emergency, no council with any integrity – or awareness of possible future legal risk – would continue making decisions that exacerbate car dependency and high emissions if they can, legally, make better decisions.

In this document, I’ve listed a few general scenarios where better outcomes are needed, along with clauses that clearly show the direction required. I hope this will be useful to elected representatives finding themselves facing a decision, or to residents facing a project that should be improved. It ends with some questions, and I will return to some of these in future posts.

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  1. Great post Heidi. You’re right that the council has a myriad of plans that point towards the radical change that we desperately need.

    I wonder whether the problem is with council staff or CCOs who find as many reasons as possible to not give effect to these plans. Hopefully the planned review of CCOs will change this.

    1. Long-time local board members have obviously come across such resistance, apparent in their replies to simple requests, “Well you’ll never get that through AT,” etc.

      AT has a new focus, and plans have become clearer since some of these board members first tried (unsuccessfully) to make changes. It’s now at the point where saying that something wouldn’t be accepted by AT or be approved by the governing body may be quite incorrect.

      Board members and councillors can unwittingly become the resistance themselves – requiring new board members to become “champions” of a cause instead of supporting the change they propose.

  2. Why should the Council ensure any criteria from an AT policy are met? Surely AT should ensure their policies reflect what the elected members of the Council want. I know, I know one of the two reasons for the super-city was to remove any meaningful power from elected people and give it to appointed boards and management. But that doesn’t make it right. (The other reason was to make people who live further from the centre pay for stuff that benefits the centre. That part is working well, but again it doesn’t mean it is right).

    1. Because the AT Parking Strategy was developed “to provide the strategic direction for the management and supply of parking in Auckland… The recommended guiding principles and policies have taken into consideration the issues raised in over 5,500 submissions… As part of the consultation process, AT also held 22 workshops with local boards, industry groups, business associations and the Auckland Council.”

      Where the strategy aligns with the research, it’s a bit hard to see whose ideas about parking would have more validity.

      What’s interesting is the strategy is under review at the moment… I’m a little concerned about what that will entail, given so little of the strategy has been followed to date. If the governing body could require AT to follow the strategy first, then a review would make sense. Perhaps this is something that could go into December’s Letter of Expectation?

      1. AT think they get to make rules but they don’t. AT policies bind AT and nobody else. I point this simple fact out at almost every planning hearing I go to and commissioners understand it. AT documents are meaningless. Legislation is primary, it is law that is the will of the Parliament, District Plans or the AUP are secondary, they have the same weight as Government Regulation. That is they bind everyone provided they are not contrary to the Act. Tertiary documents in planning are those required to be produced by other Acts. The Auckland Plan was a tertiary document although nobody at the Council cared to admit that and the IHPAUP danced around the issue. AT’s policies matter as much as a policy prepared by Spark, Sky City, Philip Morris or you. They can’t bind others. It doesn’t matter how much you consult or whether you have a note from your mum. AT’s policies do not bind the elected Council.

        1. The Unitary Plan (B1) references the plans and strategies of AT when it lists the methods to implement the objectives and policies in the regional policy statement.

          AT has written its Parking Strategy to meet Council’s objectives. Council’s input was sought and Council have since referenced AT’s strategies as the way to meet their objectives.

          If you’re arguing to commissioners that this shouldn’t apply on the basis of some legalese “gocha” argument – I think you might have just highlighted a problem.

        2. No the only gotcha argument is when AT send someone along to argue something opposite to their own policy. (They tried that with the Cohaus people). AT’s policies do bind AT staff but they don’t bind anyone else unless AT is your client or master. All the rest is just bollocks, they can write what ever they like, the Council can say that having an AT policy meets one of their duties but nothing AT writes can alter any rule. A lot of AT’s staff don’t understand this. AT policies are a bit like the Great and Powerful Oz. Just bullshit used to deceive people. They are not statute, regulation or even a tertiary document and not even an industry standard. They are a guideline at best. And they certainly do not constraint the Auckland Council or its Governing Body.

        3. Goff has never shaken anything up in his life. I voted for him because the alternative seemed to be nuts. I think Goff was the Justice Minister who was the last person to deny Peter Ellis any justice. He is a man who does whatever his advisers tell him to do without question.
          Expect more of the same from Goff. I will keep myself amused watching how the Council presents the same old same old as if it is innovation.

  3. wow. I didn’t realise business zoning was still so restrictive in Auckland. A maximum of three storeys? That’s totally ridiculous.

    And that’s what can be done before the NIMBYs have their way and schedule the existing tin-pot 1-2 level structures to remain in perpetuity.

    Everything you need to know about Auckland’s housing affordability crisis is encapsulated in this pathetic little saga.

    I mean it’s great we’re consenting more housing, although we really need prices to come down 20-40% in the next decade or so. And we won’t do that with 3 storey developments …

    1. I’m always wondering that over here. Why do we actually have these pockets of ‘business zoning’ at all?

      Perhaps mostly: is it allowed at all to have apartments on top of these shops? It is the most mundane thing in most other parts of the world, but it is almost non-existent in Auckland. Even in the CBD.

      If you look at a residential area in the unitary plan map viewer, you see these small pink spots everywhere. Often 1 or 2 lots each. For example the corner of Glenfield Road and Coronation Road. There’s a few on Mokoia Road. The shops on Chartwell Ave. (yeah, I’m on the Shore)

      This tells you where the dairies are. And perhaps the local pharmacy. I would have thought these things are just allowed in residential areas. But no, you can see all of them on the Unitary Plan viewer.

      Note also how those lots never have dwellings on the same site. How do you even manage to start a business over here if you can’t just do it on your own ground floor?

      1. “is it allowed at all to have apartments on top of these shops?” Yes.

        The zone for Upland Rd shops says: “Provisions typically enable buildings of up to three storeys high and residential use at upper floors is permitted.”

        The zone for the Mt Eden Village says: “Provisions typically enable buildings up to four storeys high, enabling residential use at upper floors.”

        1. Why does it need to say ‘residential use at upper floors is permitted’ or ‘enabling residential use at upper floors’.
          What would happen it all floors were mixed use.

      2. yes, if we were serious about tackling our housing affordability and environmental sustainability issues then we would enable 3-storeys everywhere and up to 6-storeys in town centre locations, if not higher.

  4. Brilliant post Heidi! I think with the new council we have an opportunity to relook at ATAP and make it a lot better. This is needed before being restrictive about car parking for most of Auckland.

    That North Shore AFC picture is interesting. Two observations to make; first I would hazard that the 43 new parks is not too out of line with what other sporting facilities provide to enable access to their games and training sessions, and secondly what is the alternative when the nearest transit station is some 6km away? Nobody can realistically use public transport to get there, which is why ATAP needs a makeover in a big way.

    1. Thanks, David. Perhaps the question is whether what other sporting facilities in Auckland provide for parking is a good comparison. Are these facilities not creating traffic chaos that puts people off trying cycle there, and clogging the roads up with traffic that prevents bus journey travel time improvements?

      Put it another way – AT and Regional Facilities are required to provide travel plans for events at major regional facilities, and don’t. The Waitemata LB has a low carbon action plan which involves encouraging businesses to have travel plans. Yet the AFC club on Meola Rd – with all the illegal parking and traffic chaos it causes – has been left without a travel plan all these years. Especially since the precinct is perched between the Outer Link and the frequent buses on Great North Rd.

      1. Heidi,
        Here’s the new National Hockey Stadium completed just this year.
        “We will also be using our existing Turf 4 at Rosedale Park North in combination with four new turfs for extra space, meaning we can be more flexible with scheduling games. A new footbridge will be built across Alexandra Stream to give us access to the turf and to the existing carpark on Jack Hinton Drive (200 car parks) for overflow parking.

        To the north and south ends of the new facility we will have 370 car parks.”

        If a local organisation approaches their Local Board for funding surely in a city with a climate emergency the very first question from the Board should be, “do you operate sustainably?”

    2. David B
      Your answer is simply dishonest. People don’t walk from transit stations, they walk from bus stops. It doesn’t matter how far away Akoranga is.

      1. I certainly walked to transit stations before even though I had bus stops closer by. In fact for me the most straightforward way to get to that particular spot in Devonport on PT would be not via that closest bus stop, but on a bus to the city followed by the ferry (does that count as transit?) And then a 1.6km walk.

        Driving would be faster (albeit perhaps only marginally so, I don’t know how bad Lake Road is in the weekends these days). But it would have much more flexibility in doing other things on the way.

        The question at hand is more whether or not I should get free parking over there. I think maybe not, but most of society strongly disagrees.

  5. Great post Heidi, in regards to the parking at sports grounds etc I think this is part of a wider issue – council staff are always having to show that facilites are being well utilised -so they create expensive ” destination ” playgrounds with heaps of parking so that people can ‘access” it easily. I meet a family from Howick at a new playground in Massey ( heaps of new car parking) who were there because they had heard it was a great playground! Tick in the box for someone’s KPIs but surely not the way we need to be doing things.

  6. I don’t think people playing sports, usually outside of peak congestion hours is the reason for clogged roads and Auckland’s traffic woes. Cycling with a full bag of sports gear isn’t really a solution and there are bigger fish to fry, in Dacre Park’s case some sort of decent transit along Lake Road.

    Understand what you are saying, especially in Meola Parks case but surely actual enforcement should be used to stop the illegal parking? Perhaps some way to encourage carpooling for Sports teams could be used?

    1. There’s no one source of our traffic woes. But the city is saddled with too much traffic, too little safety and access, air pollution and too-high carbon emissions.

      What I’m suggesting is that we are consistent in taking each step in the direction towards “good density” so that we increase transport choice and decrease traffic.

      I’m not interested in whether the extra carparking is for a school, an office, a theatre or a sports facility – providing it worsens access by other modes, creates traffic and prevents modeshift.

      1. “I’m not interested in whether the extra carparking is for a school, an office, a theatre or a sports facility – providing it worsens access by other modes, creates traffic and prevents modeshift.”

        Wow, just wow.

        1. Not wow at all. Basic supply and demand economics more like…

          It’s pretty evident increased parking supply induces parking. Congestion is created by the high level of parking supply and the low barriers (virtually free everywhere) to use said parking.

          Parking is still so plentiful and almost always free/undervalued that people don’t even think twice about whether other modes might be worth thinking about.

          Council doesn’t get that. Which is why they keep building additional parking and giving consents to Westfield, Sky City etc to boost up off-street supply. Given the strategy is clearly to provide a tonne of off-street parking everywhere then…

          Surely AT should take that as a mandate to remove as much on-street in any given area and re-purpose it for higher value uses such as, Bus Lanes, Cycle Ways, Curb build outs, rain gardens etc…

          I would imagine there is enough off-street supply in the CBD that removing on-street parking would hardly be missed in terms of overall supply in CBD. But what an impact it would have!

        2. I wasn’t wowing about the merits of parking, just the unfiltered hatred. Normally the hatred its’t so blunt but rather hidden under the guise of safety or urban design.

        3. @ Richard, you sound your “hatred” alarm because Heidi said, “I’m not interested in whether the extra carparking is for a school, an office, etc. . .”
          Would it have made any difference if she had said, “It doesn’t matter whether the extra carparking is for a school, an office, etc. . .”?
          Are you just fussing about phraseology, or do you really believe that providing extra parking that “worsens access by other modes, creates traffic and prevents modeshift” is somehow good?
          Why do you feel that challenging this is “hatred”?

        4. Dave B, to answer your questions.

          Be it “I’m not interested” or “It doesn’t matter” it makes no difference. It essentially highlights that the greater picture is to be ignored.

          And in regards to “worsens access by other modes, creates traffic and prevents modeshift”, well that is simply not true. It is only through extreme hatred that such a belief would be held as indisputable. Hence the “wow” statement from me.

        5. “I wasn’t wowing about the merits of parking, just the unfiltered hatred.”

          I have always considered Heidi to have a realistic appreciation of what Auckland has to achieve in terms of reducing emissions, and this is mostly where she has coming from. The reality is we will have to drive less because transport emissions are the major source of emissions in Auckland. I don’t see that as a hatred of cars, but a simple realisation that there needs to be another way.

          The rate of climate change is uncertain. Remember in 2014 Auckland’s target was a 40% reduction in emissions by 2040. Only five years later we are talking of a target of a 50% reduction by 2030. By any consideration that is a dramatic change. Is it accurate? Who knows? Did the fact that 12% of the Antartic ice broke off in early October affect this?

          I spoke to a group of 20 something year old’s at work today – degree educated people – and they think their future is stuffed.

          I suggest that you will encounter more and more people exploring ways to reduce emissions with extensive reduction in parking being one of those. Memory says Vienna (one of the world’s most progressive PT cities) started this in 2004. You describe it as hatred, I call it an informed realism.

        6. “I don’t see that as a hatred of cars,”

          Whilst I agree, and as I mentioned, its normally hidden under the guise of safety or even reducing emissions. Once you ask a few questions you get to the root reason, in this case the root reason came straight out.

          I agree we need to restore our environment, and its a shame the younger generation has been manipulated into blaming others and seemingly under the impression they can do nothing themselves. As I showed a few weeks back, if you simply eat about 40g less meat you offset about 20km of driving. If you use an electric car you would need to eat about 5g less meat.

          As to shoving a few extra car parks by a hockey turf, I highly doubt this is going to start causing people to come driving there to simply park in the car park and do nothing. More likely building the hockey turf is going to cause people to drive there, and the car parks simply provide them somewhere formal to park. As to those car parks stopping people from being able to catch a bus, walk or ride a bike. Well that’s just pure fiction.

        7. A reasonable response Richard, to a complete over the top statement. If people had to rely on PT for taking kids to sports games, well that would be the end of Saturday sport. How on earth could you be expected to take kids and gear from one side of town to the other, sometimes three different games on one day while using public transport. Just impossible.

          However in the end sense prevails because we live in a democracy and if crazy ideas like this get put forward, well those politicians get voted out and a new lot of sensible ones bring in practical ideas. Much to the horror of the zealots of course.

    2. “Cycling with a full bag of sports gear” – I do it three mornings a week on average. The solution is called paniers and they have been around for about 100 years.

      1. “If people had to rely on PT for taking kids to sports games, well that would be the end of Saturday sport.” How on earth could you be expected to take kids and gear from one side of town to the other,

        No, I get it Matthew, the potential loss of all Saturday sport because your kids can’t yet catch a bus is way more important than a world racked by climate change.
        I am not talking in the extremes that you are Matthew, but the reality is that some behaviours will need to change. People in other cities manage it and you can see that by comparing mode shares around the world. I accept too that some people will just say no, I am going to drive as much as I want, and I suspect that the response will be that they will pay a road tax that will pay for measures to allow others to take environmental friendly options.
        Who is the zealot?

    3. Is it realistic for an adult to take a bus to work (in the CBD) rather than drive? Yes, mostly – so car parking in the CBD needs to be taxed and heavily, in my view. But is it realistic for me to take my son to an away game of soccer in Te Atatu or Warkworth (we live on the North Shore) by public transport let alone cycling or walking. Clearly not. Parking is usually required unless we clog all the surrounding streets. Let’s focus on getting rid of cars and carparks (including park and ride) where there are good and practical alternatives and this is business commuting traffic.

      1. We just have to be smarter, I played a number of sports to a good standard at school. I rode a bike to school and competed, away games I rode a bike to school and the school had a mini bus to take us to the games.

        1. Ideally, yes. In many overseas countries this is good advice.

          I get told off for riding my bicycle on a street— me, an adult male. I am not even bringing any kids along.

          For kids it is Chernobyl out there. Protection needed, or you might get dead. I do not look forward to explaining to anyone why I would get out there with a kid on a bicycle. Can I afford to do this without casting yourself out of society? Should I try and maybe figure out the answer the hard way?

          I guess it also depends a bit on the area. Traffic around Smales Farm is absolutely rabid, I would not even go there in a small car. Birkdale seems to be a bit more calm. Devonport — I don’t know, but when was the last time you heard anything good about Devonport?

          I’ll be very happy if it comes to a point where I can make that same suggestion to people. For now, nah. I think you could end up offending people in unspeakable ways.

        2. Appreciate those points Roeland – and yes agree we need to make it safe and easy for people to get around on foot or bicycle. That is also part of being smarter instead we keep adding more parking on wonder why the only option seems to be the car.

        3. Devonport has the highest cycling mode share in Auckland, so there goes something good about it.

          It is actually holding AT back from doing anything as a successful cycle scheme would have to take it from 6% to 10% – a daunting target in line with German mode share.

  7. Heidi its just another issue with over regulation.
    Imagine if our food industry was overly regulated with all sorts of rules on what you can and can’t make and a food council that inspected every item made. The result would be exactly what we see in the building industry – high prices, lack of supply, lack of choice, lower quality. Once you are used to that world it is hard to imagine it possible to get rid of the regulation – people would argue that food will become dangerous, people will be poisoned, people would eat types of food that are not standard, etc.

    1. Minimum parking requirements, yes. I agree.

      Local boards proposing ‘improvements’ themselves that include extra carparking? No, that’s not over regulation, that’s a lack of understanding about how to implement a compact city strategy.

  8. “The zoo carpark has long been a barrier to families trying to cycle or walk to Western Springs Park”

    Is this an April fools post or do you seriously want to close the Auckland Zoo because of the perceived “barrier” for families wanting to walk and cycle?

      1. There are upcoming changes in the area, linked with increased parking at MOTAT Meola Rd.
        “The Motions Road cycleway will deliver a kilometre of greenway connecting the planned Pt Chevalier Cycleway to Western Springs Park, Auckland Zoo, TAPAC, MOTAT and Seddon Fields. It will also improve access for students going to Western Springs College. “

      2. I guess it all depends on whether or not you want people from the wider Auckland area visiting the zoo. I would support removing the zoo carpark and charging the full cost of running the zoo to houses located within a 15 minute cycle ride as a special rate. That would get my vote.

        1. Good point miffy. There’s a risk that these sorts of suggestions are then used to keep the non locals away. Let’s charge heaps to park the car near the beach etc. This has happened in Sydney with Tarronga zoo I recall. The experience is so expensive it keeps many of the lower income earners from greater sydney away and is mainly used by the “champagne sydney” locals and tourists.

        2. One of the things creating barriers to people from the wider Auckland area visiting the zoo is that the Pt Chev and Westmere families who visit often, etc, arrange to meet there instead of carpooling. With free parking, a short distance to drive so they get the best parks early, no need. Whereas those coming from further do tend to carpool, and by the time they arrive, may need a park further away. Parking further away is fine, as long as the walking connection is good… which requires priority for active mode connections…

          The real problem arises when – to accommodate these local families in carparks they probably don’t need, and the families from further away in carparks that they probably do need, a decision is made to add extra carparking. Which induces more traffic, makes the walking connections more dangerous…

          There are solutions to this, involving pricing the parking and making things safe for vulnerable users, whether they’re coming from a parked car, a bus, or from home.

    1. I was going to make this point too, and I would like Heidi to answer because I’m genuinely not understanding how the car park is a barrier to people cycling to the Zoo.
      Could any issues cyclists may be facing be solved by adding a seperate cycle path leading to cycle parking? Or is the issue ‘Cars Are Bad’ so we should get rid of the carparking? Because that belief could be applied to all public amenity carparks.

      1. Sure, I’ll explain, John. I don’t meet many problems cycling to the zoo as an adult. My caption was “The zoo carpark has long been a barrier to families trying to cycle or walk to Western Springs Park.”

        This is nothing like the worst part of town to be trying to cycle. But it certainly is an area where families try, and there’s no good reason why it couldn’t have been improved well before now. To understand the barriers, you need to see this through the eyes of, say, a mother with two kids on bikes – a 4-year-old and an 8-year-old.

        Let’s say they use cycling as their main transport, and are coming from the Meola Rd direction, intending to have a stop at the playground for a while before heading on to their main destination – somewhere along the NW cycleway, perhaps.

        Or they might be people who’ve driven to the zoo overflow carpark so that the kids can get a bit of practice cycling in Western Springs Park.

        Which route do you think is appropriate into the park?

        Following the law would allow the smaller child on the footpath, but the older child and mother would have to go on the road, amongst the drivers doing their “cruising for a park” thing, on the other side of parked cars. Parental safety supervision from several metres away, while keeping the older child safe on the road too is pretty tenuous, but sometimes the best option. And if they did this, do they then all cycle up the Zoo carpark driveway where there’s no footpath? Including that section that’s one way the wrong way?

        Or pass over the notorious driveway (harried exhausted parents after a zoo visit looking out for trams and traffic but not noticing a little child alone on a bike – “and what’s that mother doing, letting the child cycle alone like that, near the tram!!”) and go further along Motions Rd, taking the first path into the park? That’s 350m further than the quickest route, more than twice the distance. No good for the family who are trying to get to activities with the least amount of distance in order to keep the little one from getting too exhausted. Doubling the distance for active mode users is what designers need to be avoiding.

        If they flout the law and go on the footpath, the path up from Motions Rd to the zoo carpark is steep, the sort of gradient that requires a four-year-old to put some grunt in and test themselves. And much of the time that’s the best way for them to go. When the place is busy, obviously not. And the problems really arise when you think there’s no one around, but the little tot has to suddenly stop on the narrow steep path to give way, perhaps facing a couple of dancing 3 year olds or a 6-year old deciding to run down the hill pushing an empty pushchair, or a grumpy who thinks it’s their place to scold both mother and child.

        In any case, it spills them onto a tiny footpath at the top, sometimes with lots of people to dodge, and intuition doesn’t help figuring out where to go next. Keep on the footpath and face further disapproval? Fine, except you go past the zoo’s entrance and then find you don’t have a footpath any more. Which might be fine for a little while, or there might be trucks lined up along the orange dashed lines, or work utes that tend to speed up having left the main car park traffic chaos behind… There are a couple of other options: cycle along behind the lined up cars and SUV’s and hope that the little one doesn’t get hit by someone reversing who can’t see someone that small…. Or you can take the kids along that super narrow path next to the parked cars where either someone’s knees, or a ute’s bumper, will tend to get scraped.

        I know that not everyone here will care about my observations as a parent, and care to try to make this work for all ages. But a city designed for young and old is a city that works for everyone. It wouldn’t take too much to fix these problems. There just hasn’t been the will.

        1. Hmm, looking at the trip you’ve described it seems you’ve come from the residential suburbs to the north where the footpaths are right next to the boundary line and actually rather dangerous to cycle on, so it seems you’ve chosen to take on some pretty big risks from the start.

          From there I guess you would have taken that path “Jaggers Walk”, or stuck to the main road if you think Jaggers Walk is for 2nd class citizens.

          From there you need to ride through the hazardous gauntlet of non-compliant angled parking and raised ambiguous crossings. I’m sure zero police officers would tell you off for riding with your 4 year old on the footpath here.

          For the rest of the route you’re stuck on a narrow footpath between a tram track and parked cars where you have people getting in and out of cars which is another well known hazard.

          The last and easiest thing is the entrance to the zoo, which although still not great is probably the safest part of the entire thing as its clear, open and easy to understand.

          From there its a short trip to the access to western springs and along the path to the playground. However now that you’ve got there I’d suspect your kids would be ready to go home.

          So in summary, the carpark shown in the photo proved to be zero barrier, yet there were a great many risks along the way not associated with said carpark.

        2. In summary, the city has failed to provide a safe cycling network.

          I’m in Pt Chev, not Westmere. Every section of every journey I’ve taken with my kids has been this weighing up of relative dangers.

          It’s not ok.

        3. Assuming you live near the top of Point Chev you live in suburb that has very little through traffic.

          Something that I’d imagine you would disagree with, but I’d say one of the issues with the place, and much of Auckland, that prevents it from being safer to get around is the grid road network. If it had one of those more organic road networks with a grid of greenways over the top then your kids could get around almost completely isolated from road traffic.

          Whilst I don’t really agree with the idea of 4 year old kids being sent of on 5km long cycle trips down busy roads, I find it interested how there seemed to be little care or concern over the primary safety risks on the trip yet there was a great level of frustration over a car park that in reality is of little inconvenience.

  9. Mt Eden village shouldn’t be 3 levels!!!

    ….it should be 5 or more!!!!! Anything within a close radius of a train station should be much higher than just 3!

    1. Got villages mixed up, it’s not close to the train station (others are and should apply to them) but it is on a high frequency bus route (and someday LRT) so should still be minimum 5 levels. Shops on ground floor, 4 or more levels of apartments above.

  10. Now imagine:

    (tourist bus stops on Remuera Road)

    — “look, these are traditional shop buildings in Auckland…”

    (tourists gawk at those gracious old b—

    Yeah, nah.

      1. The building shown on the right is already scheduled. The one on the left lies within the character overlay that already applies to the whole village.

        1. In reply to Richard.
          Of course it will change “the character” of that particular streetscape.
          Any changes will. Preventing change also will prevent inefficient and unattractive buildings from being culled in favour of buildings better in both efficiency and aesthetics. I bet those speculators who built these basic utilitarian commercial buildings in the second half of the last centuary would be laughing at the prospect of these buildings being heritage protected, except of course if they still owned the land, in which case they would see such protection as a removal of their property rights. There already exists enough heritage provisions to protect worthwhile buildings, trees and other landscape features without resort to overly restrictive area plans. Cities must continue to evolve to remain relevant.

        2. I highly doubt the buildings Heidi has shown would be heritage protected. It’s more likely people want the buildings she didn’t show protected and any new one to match in with that character.

          Many cities overseas do this and it ends up creating some of their more trendy areas such as Gastown in Vancouver. (Note the existing buildings here were already 5 stories or so tall).

          If they hadn’t used good urban controls here they would have likely ended up with something like this

        3. Keep the facades and build apartment blocks behind that. People will only see the facade from up close.

        4. “Keep the facades and build apartment blocks behind that”

          Pretty sure the issue is that people don’t want apartment blocks in the village centre as it detracts from the village feel and would block views of the Mt Eden.

          It’s not like the village is all that of an ideal location for intensification. Its about 2km from the nearest train station and the most negative aspect of the village are the over-sized buses going through there.

          It would be nicer if you could block general traffic from going through the middle of it, however given there are no good roads to get around it and the plan is to prevent cars using the nearby arterial (Dominion Rd) its only likely to get worse in the years ahead.

        5. Mt Eden surely isn’t really a ‘village’. It’s a centre in the inner isthmus with access to some of the best public transport in the city in the form of extremely frequent buses with generally good bus lanes.

          It’s an excellent location for growth.

          Of course Mt Eden also has some important heritage and character buildings that are worth protecting and ensuring new buildings don’t significantly impact on. But that’s different to putting the whole place in a pickle jar.

        6. ‘It’s not like the village is all that of an ideal location for intensification. Its about 2km from the nearest train station and the most negative aspect of the village are the over-sized buses going through there.’

          And you write Wow on Heidi’s post?! I’ve never seen such nonsense written…and what about St Helliers, Takapuna, Mission Bay, Remuera, Epsom..all these ‘villages’ apply the same nonsense you apply here.

          Auckland is a growing City of 1.6 million, if you want to live in a Village probably go live in one and let the City develop their Inner Suburbs like ever City in the world does.

          People in Mt Eden aren’t stopping development so they get a nice ‘feel’ when they walk to get a coffee or some milk from the Dairy. We have a housing crisis and a transport crisis and you really think we need blanket protection across huge swathes of inner city land? We all non they want it protected so lock in their land/housing value and to keep out the riff raff.

          Wow indeed

        7. ” you really think we need blanket protection across huge swathes of inner city land?”

          Joe, you quite obviously have barely read a word I’ve said have simply got your knickers in a twist of what you want me to be arguing for.

          All I have commented are the likely reason why the people in the area are likely concerned. An area that is about 200m in length and 60m in width and hardly a “huge swathe”.

        8. If they would be actually concerned about heritage they would list a few particular buildings rather than entire shopping strips. Maybe the two corner buildings in that street view.

          → I don’t think they care about heritage protection at all. I don’t know their motivation. Perhaps they just want to Keep the Wrong Element Out, whatever that may be.

        9. Heidi,
          Here’s the new National Hockey Stadium completed just this year.
          “We will also be using our existing Turf 4 at Rosedale Park North in combination with four new turfs for extra space, meaning we can be more flexible with scheduling games. A new footbridge will be built across Alexandra Stream to give us access to the turf and to the existing carpark on Jack Hinton Drive (200 car parks) for overflow parking.

          To the north and south ends of the new facility we will have 370 car parks.”

          If a local organisation approaches their Local Board for funding surely in a city with a climate emergency the very first question from the Board should be, “do you operate sustainably?”

        10. Richard
          You are simply wrong about intensification in Mt Eden. I lived in Stokes Road in the middle of the village for three years. It is one bus stage to the city and would be easily accessible by bus if traffic was removed from Mt Eden Rd.
          A chunk of Mt Eden already is intensified with apartments around Valley Road and View Road amongst other places.
          Much of the village is not character buildings and some has been rebuilt recently and seems to fit with the surroundings.

        11. john, I think you’re making the same mistake as Joe and assuming I want to ban all development in the entire suburb of Mt Eden for some reason. The fact is however, I’m only talking about the village which is roughly a 200m length of Mount Eden Road and extends about 30m down Stokes Rd.

          I’ve already mentioned that I suspect people are worried about protecting the character of the area, so I highly doubt anyone would care if the crappy old single level buildings got demolished and replaced with some new ones that fitted in with the existing character. What they likely want to avoid are 5 story high apartment blocks built right up on the property boundaries turning the street into a dark chasm and blocking any views of the mountain. If you want to shove a 10 story high apartment block 100m back from the main street, go for it.

          In terms of removing traffic, based on the plans for the Dominion Rd tram line the plan is actually to reduce the bus frequency here (potentially remove it completely) and increase general traffic flow. Not saying I’m in favor of that plan, but that’s how they’re planning on improving PT on the Northshore (as backwards as that sounds).

        12. ‘the plan is actually to reduce the bus frequency here (potentially remove it completely) and increase general traffic flow’.

          Where did you hear this!? I can understand a reduction in frequency initially as light rail takes some of the patronage, however this will likely fill up again as the city continues to grow.

          I doubt it would be a viable option to remove Mt Eden buses completely.

        13. There is no obvious reason why a small group of vocal Mt Eden residents should be able to enforce their desire for the village to look exactly as it is, forever. But that is what will happen if the plan to schedule the whole village as a heritage site goes ahead. Ironically some of the very same people are upset that the local fish and butcher shops moved away … while their opposition to any and all development around the village keeps away potential residents who could have helped sustain those businesses.

          I live a few minutes walk from the village myself. I’d love to see some 4-5 story blocks in and around the village. (Arguing that they should kept outside the village is all very well but obviously if you do that, you’ll just get a different set of NIMBYs complaining they’re even more out of place.) Also, knock down the condemned Greyfriars building and build an apartment block there. This is a great area for commuting to the city by bus and we should make the most of it.

        14. Oh yeah, and redevelop the Crystal Palace site. Much as I would like it to be viable a functioning theatre, it isn’t. It’s been an eyesore for > 15 years and enough is enough.

        15. “Where did you hear this!? I can understand a reduction in frequency initially as light rail takes some of the patronage, however this will likely fill up again as the city continues to grow.”

          If you read the business plan for the tram line, its purpose is to reduce the number of buses in the CBD so that they can replace them with more buses from the Northshore.

          They discounted the Mt Roskill rail spur because people don’t like making transfers, so they created a tram line that people are required to transfer from buses onto reducing the need for buses to drive along routes like Mt Eden Rd.

          One of the other options they look at to improve PT on the Northshore was to run a elevated busway down Manukau Rd to Onehunga.

          If you think what I have said above make next to no sense, I agree with you. However that’s what the business case claims.

  11. Re parking
    Have GA written any posts about the traffic planning for the Westfield Newmarket Mall? I was there at the weekend and it looks like a disaster waiting to happen once the development is completed and fully open (it’s opening in stages as spaces are finished).
    Regular readers will know I’m ‘pro car/car friendly’ but even I can see that carmageddon is coming. Given the size of the mall, and the expanded carparking floors, I predict we will have a long tail stretching back down the motorway from Gillies Ave/Mortimer’s Pass come Xmas (when they are fully open). Which will only get worse when they start on the next phase – redeveloping their extensive land holdings on Nuffield Street.
    Maybe I’m wrong, maybe there are cunning plans afoot – but it might be a good story for GA to look at it.

    1. I mention this because I’m against public spaces (including streets) being co-opted by private interests. I’m keen to see how Mortimer’s Pass is going to remain open to all traffic, and not become clogged with people trying to get into Westfield.
      And if Mortimer’s Pass isn’t clogged, how do we not end up with long lines on Gillies Ave from cars waiting to get into Mortimer’s Pass (waiting to get into Westfield)? We already have similar traffic queues entering Sylvia Park Mall but at least that has a wider ‘spread’ along the Mt Wellington Highway.

    2. Yeah, all I hear from everyone is it’s a mess. I can’t personally bring myself to visit, so I don’t think I’ll be writing about it. But you’re right that it’s a good subject… maybe somebody will send in a guest post.

      Wouldn’t it be great if it becomes a story that runs along the lines of: “AT is starting the Connected Communities programme in Newmarket, where improved pedestrian safety and priority, and new cycle lanes on all the major roads, plus bus priority, has turned the area into the most people-friendly centre in the city. Westfield are looking at converting the carparks it has built into storage facilities for the many apartment dwellers in the area.” 🙂

    3. I’ve been watching this development coming along and it certainly doesn’t seem very ideal from a transport perspective. One of thing things I found most strange about it was how they were allowed to build so close to the road leaving such a narrow footpath between the shopping centre and the bus lane. It seems a repeat if not worse that what is currently outside the old 277.

      Of course to make the shopping centre upgrade economically viable they needed more car parks, as this means more customers which means more shops which means more rent.

      In term of traffic impact assessments, I can only assume it showed there would be mass congestion and it was decided that this was fine. A related issue right next door is an apartment building going up right next the to the Gillies Ave off-ramp, which not only being unsafe is also likely to cause congestion. Taking these two developments as an example it would appear the council has next to no say in terms of what developments take place on peoples private land.

      1. Yes it’s patently obvious that motorway off ramp at Gillies Ave is going to need more lanes and that corner site would have been perfect. NZTA could have taken some of that land for that purpose, but at what cost?
        Which brings us back to my other point – why should taxpayers pay to buy land off one private owner to fix a traffic problem created by another private land owner?

    4. The mall does have a couple of upsides.

      It’s close to the train station, so when driving to Newmarket is untenable people will still be able to get there by train. Broadway has bus lanes which hopefully will keep buses moving when cars aren’t.

      It makes living in Newmarket significantly more attractive, so over time more people will be walking there from their apartments.

  12. @Matthew the democrat “If people had to rely on PT for taking kids to sports games, well that would be the end of Saturday sport. How on earth could you be expected to take kids and gear from one side of town to the other, sometimes three different games on one day while using public transport.”
    I absolutely believe that would be a good thing for the kids and the parents! – People might remember where they actually live, have more family time instead of driving the family around time. It’s an opportunity to check out what (other) sports or non-sports social activities there are in your immediate ‘hoods.
    Did your mum drive you across the city for sports or school? (Don’t know your age, maybe she did and that’s why you feel you have to – or you wish she would’ve done but it was not a thing). Do parents really do the best for their children when they dis-enfranchise them from their local surrounding?
    Imagine kids could again play sports and go to school where they live, make friends close to home and get to know the families in your street? This driving across the city has not only an environmental impact but also a social component of disconnection. And it doesn’t stop with the sports across the city, if the school is across then friends may be, too.
    Isn’t this driving society robbing the children of the fantastic exciting opportunity (we older all cherish) of just walking or cycling two-three streets over to the friends or the soccer club. And if there’s no soccer club, maybe tennis or frisbee or whatever will do?!?
    I think it is time to rethink this chauffer-ing business and allow kids to be kids and not executives in family SUVs.

    1. Maybe you don’t understand how Saturday sport works. My boys play for the local rugby club (walking distance which is nice), but they then play other clubs which range from Glen Eden, Waitakere, College Rifles to various other fields around Auckland. Just because your kid plays for the local club doesn’t mean they play there every Saturday.

      Or maybe you do understand this and just think instead of club sports we should quit organised sport and play with kids at the local park only. Rather an extremist view if this is the case.

      And as far as ‘dis-enfranchised from their local surrounding’ – what sort of gobble de gook is that. ‘Disconnection’ from the city, more like a greater connection I would have thought, meeting and playing with kids from other clubs, ethnicities and social background. I could go on….

      1. I think people understand the concept of home and away games. What I struggle to understand is why the 15 kids in a rugby team have to travel in 15 different cars, this certainly wasn’t the case when I was a kid.

      2. So Matthew, you are saying a team of 15 boys who all live locally and play for the same local club, half the time they all need to go together to another club around Auckland at the same time, then come back to the same neighborhood afterwards?

        If only there was some efficient way a sports team could travel in the same vehicle from the same place to the same place and back again?!

        1. Of course people car pool where they can, but sometimes whole families go to watch the kids play and then you might need to attend another match in a different location. So in reality it’s not like only 5 cars arrive at a match filled with kids. More like 10-12 I would say on average.

          Lucky we live in a democracy Joe…

  13. ‘Or maybe you do understand this and just think instead of club sports we should quit organised sport and play with kids at the local park only. Rather an extremist view if this is the case.’

    The old classic make up something which someone didn’t say and call them out on it using striog words such as ‘extremist’ to validate your own point of view.

    Surprised you didn’t drop in your classic line ‘good job we live in a democracy’ like you usually do when you don’t agree with something, akin to some sort of blanket to pull over your eyes when you don’t like something.

    A group of City side dwellers all play football for Glenfield Rovers. We carpool with a full car to every game, home and’s not that hard to organise.

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