What is Council’s vision for our “destination” precincts? Planning to improve these areas for recreation, arts and culture, tourism and education needs to be consistent with the planning for the rest of the city. How should they be developed to ensure they are in line with our social, economic and environmental goals?

Here is the direction for “Places” given in the Auckland Plan 2050:

When we think about a quality compact urban form, compact housing is usually our focus. Where to put it, and how to do it well. I’d like to use the Western Springs Precinct to explore how these “destination” precincts are part of the picture too. There’s nothing radical or uncomfortable about designing for “good density” here. Consistent steps in one direction are all that is required.

Auckland can take pride in Western Springs. It has superb facilities, great green infrastructure, and it’s popular. From a recent Parking Management Plan Report of the precinct by Flow Transportation Specialists:

Attendance figures are recorded to reach a combined total of around 1 million for the zoo and MOTAT alone, with the rest having a wide audience reach throughout Auckland and beyond. Each land use is considered to be unique and is required to develop and grow their audiences and advance economically. There is also pressure from outside sources to increase revenue at the majority of sites within the precinct, subsequently requiring an increase in visitor numbers to the precinct.

Transport networks are on its doorstep, including several frequent bus services, the motorway, the Northwestern cycleway, and the train isn’t far, either.

Public Transport near Western Springs.

I’ve shown most of the amenities on the following map. Here are the acronyms or shortenings that might not be obvious:

  • AMT = The Auckland Music Theatre
  • TAPAC = The Auckland Performing Arts Centre
  • Waiorea = Ngā Puna o Waiōrea – the Te Reo Māori immersion kura
  • WS AFC = The Western Springs Association Football Club
  • WSC = Western Springs College
  • Garden Community Hall = The Western Springs Garden Community Hall
  • Horticultural Council = The Auckland Horticultural Council Headquarters. These last two facilities are used by a number of societies and groups, and for events.

Amenities at Western Springs.*

To design improvements we need to understand the key challenges posed by this precinct.

Security. The area is perceived as unsafe at night. Adults drive there. Most parents don’t let their tweens and teens walk or cycle home in the dark from the many evening activities at scouts, the schools, the music theatre or TAPAC, etc. During the day, stark prison-like walls and an unbalanced mix of land uses leaves the area feeling empty and unsafe for many. This results, of course, in dependency on cars for trips that would ideally be walked, cycled or made by public transport.

Parking. There is parking pressure at certain times of the week and year. While local visitors can be expected to respond to parking pressure by switching to walking, cycling or bus, many visitors coming from further afield won’t find these alternatives practical. There can be parking pressure in one part of the precinct while another part has plenty of availability.

Parking on Great North Rd sitting empty while the cruising-for-a-park chaos was well under way on Motions Rd.

Responding to this, many drivers park illegally in the pedestrian realm, which presents danger to vulnerable users and causes damage to Council property.

The anti-social parking behaviour damages soil, kerbs, trees, street furniture and services, and deters people from active travel by the danger it presents.

Poor walking amenity. The precinct is flanked by excellent bus services. The walking connections to these networks are not safe or attractive, though. The route from the Outer Link has no pedestrian crossing, and the tripping risk is extreme:

The “Motat Driveway” – the path connecting Meola Rd with the rest of the precinct, including for the daily cycle or walk to school for many college and intermediate students.

From the Great North Rd buses, there is no intuitive path to the zoo. Taking Motions Rd, people first encounter the carpark entrance, which only caters to cars. The pedestrian entrance is further along the street. Counter-intuitively, the narrow path heads away from the zoo entrance, increasing the walking distance. Since it is used by people with prams, and on scooters and bikes going to the Western Springs playground, the possibility of conflicts is high.

Safety issues also exist for students due to poor sightlines at the school’s entrance, where Motions Rd, Old Mill Rd, the Motat driveway and the tramlines intersect.

No cycling. The precinct is missing a cycling network. Also, the severance from the motorway has never been repaired, so there are no direct connections from Motions Rd via cycling and walking overbridges to the Northwest cycleway.

Too much traffic. People on feet or on bikes face danger from the movement of vehicles in and out of parking lots, in and out of kerbside parks, over kerbs into illegal parking spots, with drivers looking for parking spaces not people, and using the area as a ratrun. Cutting through the area has worsened considerably since the Waterview Connection opened.

How then, should the precinct be improved?

Development of this precinct needs to support the Auckland Plan’s goals of a more compact urban form and of creating urban places for the future that are inclusive, accessible and contribute to urban living. Any land use changes must be wisely chosen so they don’t create further sprawl, car dependency or traffic danger. Providing more parking, for example, is a step in the wrong direction. Changes that make it easier to travel sustainably will create benefits for the rest of the city, where these visitors’ journeys traverse.

Here are the desired Transport Outcomes in the Auckland Plan 2050, which are all relevant here, particularly focus area 4:

Make walking, cycling and public transport preferred choices for many more Aucklanders.

The Parking Management Report says of the Western Springs Precinct:

It is noted that a higher level of overall accessibility by walking, cycling and public transport would encourage and enable lower trips made by private vehicles and thereby enable a corresponding reduction in the provision of available car parking.

The city’s rapid transit network is still a work in progress, so most people coming to Western Springs from distant parts of Auckland will find driving most practical. Solutions need to focus on reducing other, discretionary, driving in the precinct. This means reducing vehicle trips:

  • passing through the precinct rather than coming to it, and
  • coming from shorter distances.


Smart Parking Management. Pricing the parks will encourage people coming from more local destinations – who have other options – to switch transport mode. This ensures people coming from further away – or who really need a park for another reason – can find a park. If we only drive to distant destinations, and pay for the parking we need there, our overall costs are far lower than if we plan to provide free parking to anyone who wants to drive, regardless of distance.

Smart technology can put a premium on the spaces that are closest to a facility, meaning people wanting to pay less can go straight to a cheaper park. And in general, drivers can be informed about where to drive for a park before they set out, or by dynamic signs, rather than needing to cruise for one.

Closing Ratruns. Through-traffic should be kept to the arterials in any precinct to allow safe active movement within local roads. Cutting the Old Mill Rd ratrun would bring many safety benefits.

The ratrun on Old Mill Rd, endangering and polluting the air for college and intermediate students.

Mixed Uses. Priority must be given, when land uses change, to those that provide surveillance day and night, such as apartment buildings with ground-floor restaurants, recreational facilities and retail. Designed well, this would be a super place to live, amongst all the parks, amenities and excellent public transport.

Some public land in the precinct – an area of old landfill – is about to be developed.

Western Springs Land Use. Pink shows the 1330 existing car parks; yellow shows the 2 ha available for development.

Publicly owned land about to be developed in Western Springs

Travel Plans. All facilities should have a travel plan that is effective in helping people shift their travel to walking, cycling and using public transport. Recent improvements:

  • the Zoo’s website now includes information about how to get there by public transport, and
  • Bike Pt Chevalier tested demand for cycling to football over 4 weekends this winter. The high uptake indicates many families are keen to cycle, meaning the club’s (long overdue) travel plan can bring necessary cycling infrastructure and priority.

130 bikes at Football on Week 2 of the Demonstration Project. Credit: Bike Pt Chevalier

Passive Surveillance. Improvements to each facility need to follow good urban design advice and “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design”. This section of the Auckland Design Manual was written for residential design, but applies equally well to destination precincts:

Windows facing the street provide opportunities for “passive surveillance”, or “eyes on the street”, which helps reduce opportunities for crime. This is because people using the street are safer when they can be seen from adjacent buildings…

The practice of using passive surveillance to create safer streets also applies to parks and other public areas. Glazing and balconies should be orientated to overlook public areas, while fencing and planting should avoiding significantly blocking views to these areas.

Areas that feel safe encourage more people to cycle and walk. More people cycling and walking in a precinct also make it feel safer.

Parking Enforcement. Overdue.

Better spatial design. The facilities can be designed to interact better with each other and the transport networks. For example, some Zoo patrons don’t want to walk a long way from distant parking lots. Rather than try to provide more carparks within the precinct, it may be that the Zoo should reopen its multiple entrances to allow shorter distances from various bus stops and from the available, dispersed parking.

Walking and Cycling. The connections to the sustainable transport networks need to be established. Design must focus on children travelling independently, on people with limited mobility and on personal safety at all times of the day and night.

The 6km cycling catchment is given in the Flow Parking Management Report:

With bike hire to the train network as well, cycling can serve visitors from a large part of the city. With safe cycling facilities and good wayfinding, bike hire could fill a gap between the precinct and the local train stations. Cycling becomes more attractive with lower traffic volumes. People shifting from driving to cycling then help to lower traffic volumes further.

City-Wide Solutions. If land use changes to encourage a compact urban form, and transport measures to support modeshift and reduce traffic volumes were implemented not just in this precinct, but throughout the city in every precinct, we’d see traffic volumes reduce and access by other modes improve, project-by-project, in a positive feedback loop. With fewer people travelling by car and fewer cars needing parking space, solutions would become easier in each area by turn.

So what is happening?

Plenty, including a completely new facility. The college and Zoo both have impressive building programmes. Plans are afoot to improve the Western Springs Park. We might see new cycleways through both a new streetscape, covered here, and the local board’s greenways plan. The bus network through the precinct is proposed to be improved even further.

But undermining all this improvement, the precinct’s problems will soon be exacerbated by the addition of a 350-space carpark, which will induce traffic, push modeshift in the wrong direction, and increase traffic danger.

It would be worth exploring this further to see how inconsistent decision-making within the Council umbrella organisations ends up undermining Council’s goals, wasting our money, and preventing the shift towards a liveable city.

*The base aerial photo for these two images are from Auckland Council and are used in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

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  1. As a local, I run through the park east to west. I need to run through the zoo carpark, which has just been rearranged making it much harder and more dangerous to cross. No thought at all about other uses, the designers wore blinkers just focussing on how to get people from car to the zoo and bugger everyone else.
    Same would apply to pupils walking through the park to Western Springs College.

  2. Does anyone know what’s planned for the large development area? Can only imagine it will be single or terraced house with a carpark for each?

    1. It is council land – not sure if part of MOTAT lease or separate. Part is for a new car park for the sports fields / Western Springs as AT plan to remove all parking off Meola Rd to facilitate the new cycleway. It is currently a gravel pit next to the pot holed road above. The car park is needed, but probably doesn;t need to be 350 spaces. It would be good to use some for other facilities. Maybe a skate park and bmx track?
      It is not for housing.

      1. The new carpark is the only development (I’m aware of) for the land. The carpark and the streetscape were planned separately and are not dependent on each other. The streetscape removes less than 10 percent of the precinct’s parking (AT’s figures are higher than the Parking Report’s figures and must include dozens of illegal parks). The spaces being reallocated to active modes are well-placed, too, where there is suppressed demand for cycling near the football club. If there is to be a gradual decrease in parking to meet the modeshift goals, a streetscape project – when modeshift is a real option for many people – is the time to do so.

        1. Firstly, great article with lots of good points – particularly on Zoo access and induced rat running.
          But… yes they are not dependent on each other as separately funded but AT are using the new car park as justification for removing ALL parking (including “illegal” parking) from Meola in their marketing material (and in person) for the cycleway project.
          While having a lot of people cycle to the sports field is great and what should happen, it is not practical or even possible for many users from all over Auckland – particularly at night. I can’t see many people sending little Jimmy off the the park in the dark – yet alone if wet etc.
          The parking should have been done when the fields were upgraded for all weather and night use (which is great). I do agree that it should be smaller though.
          BTW, I assume you meant the cycle-way project only keeps 10% of the parking.

        2. Thanks, Stu. The Parking Report put the number of parking spaces in the precinct at 1330. This doesn’t include illegal parks.

          AT should have been more careful not to link the streetscape project with the carpark as it sets up unrealistic expectations for subsequent projects. (I did stress this to them.)

          Those of us who do let little Johnny go to the precinct in the dark and wet have been waiting an awfully long time for even the most basic of safety improvements.

        3. From project site: “In order to provide a cycleway on Meola Road and make the street safer for everyone, parking will need to be removed on both sides of the road. A new carpark is planned to be built on the MOTAT site which will provide around 350 new parking spaces to the precinct. This will alleviate the loss of any car parks that would be removed on Meola Road in the Seddon Field, MOTAT area.”
          Like many, my submission in support of removing all the parking near the fields to make way for cycle lane was based on there being a new car park – and it being place before the cycleway. It is easy to read the above as the carpark is part of the cycleway project – it is even worse in the pamphlet.
          Note, I am also campaigning to have parking kept on the north side for only the area near the Meola Reef dog park. There is enough room there to keep the parking and make it a bus lane in morning peak (this could be implemented today on a trial basis). This is one facility where travel by car is the only possibility for most users – no one wants muddy dogs on the bus! (although would be nice to take clean ones). Parking 750m away may be OK for some on a weekend but many people use the dog park after work with limited daylight hours to walk the extra distance with pooch in tow.

  3. Fantastic post Heidi. This kind of precinct by precinct analysis is what you’d hope Council are doing. And constantly tying it back to strategy is key. Otherwise. Lazy biz as usual (ie thought as last century) would just mean more traffic inducing rate payer subsidised underpriced parking.

  4. To be honest: it’s these little things of neglect and oversight that are being corrected in this article that would add up for the poor impression that Auckland always gave me. Things that you generally don’t see in other cities (like the potholed road at MOTAT). And I think my opinion is pretty general.

    And I’ve always said that of Auikcland wants to go ahead with a proper rugby stadium instead of Eden park: Upgrading the natural amphitheater at Western Springs should be at least looked into.

  5. I would like to see the zoo carparks closed and parking removed from all the local streets. Then six months later when the zoo shuts due to lack of visitors they could send the animals back to where they are supposed to live.

    1. Miffy
      I wondered in NZ if a zoo could actually succeed without hectares of car parks. I can recall visiting Wellington zoo by bus. I see from the zoo website, “There is limited free car parking around the Zoo so it’s a case of early bird catches the worm. You’ll find them right outside the Zoo or in the Newtown Park car park next door.” Could the same work in Auckland? Car mode share here is only 83% – could the zoo make a go of it with the remaining 17%.

      I have to admit that I don’t know whether the Wgtn zoo is successful, although it obviously successful enough to remain open. I also note that I don’t know if the newly elected regressive Wgtn Council has plans to change the zoo. I can imagine they may be thinking: if we used some of the zoo space to double the number of car parks we could probably double patronage; could part of the zoo be used as part of “four lanes to anywhere”; do we need some of the zoo land to dump spoil from a new Mt Victoria tunnel, or any tunnel, or should we just put the soil somewhere where it can run into the Harbour, it worked for transmission gully.
      Zoos are where these animals are supposed to live. If we haven’t degraded where they used to live, then we are working on it.

        1. Here’s the meaning of the word that I used for regressive, “returning to a former or less developed state.” I was suggesting that the current Council was returning to a former state where PT solutions were less important than finding car based transport solutions. Is that true, or you don’t recognise it to be true?
          I am happy to be proved wrong about my assessment of Wgtn Council. It is ten years since I lived there and I can see less from a distance. Has another Mt Victoria tunnel been scrapped? Is four lanes to the planes a distant memory? What is their target for reducing car mode share?

        2. jwt: it’s pretty easy to find the answers to your questions online: it would have been a good idea to do that before posting, to avoid inaccuracy.

          Your statement conflates the two Wellington councils, the city one being responsible for the zoo and parking, the regional one for public transport. Neither is responsible for the Mt Vic tunnel or its proposed duplication – as a State Highway, that’s an NZTA responsibility.

          Both councils are newly elected, and in both cases the body of the council is generally considered to be more pro-PT than previously. The mayor is somewhat of an exception in some (but not all) respects, being an advocate for a 2nd Mt Vic tunnel – last week WCC rejected a proposal to accellerate that project within Let’s Get Wellington Moving (a National government creation, which National MPs are now having a problem with because they don’t like the results so far of a process that they established): he voted in favour of speeding it up, and lost.

          As for the other details, I suggest looking at the LGWM (main mantra: more people in fewer vehicles) website: both GWRC and WCC are parties to that, along with NZTA.

          So “newly elected regressive Wgtn council” is not an accurate description.

        3. Mike M
          Thanks for that. It is the views of the new mayor that are gaining most attention.
          I hope that the LGWM does produce good results. Auckland also has had huge ambitions for better PT and against important measurements of reducing congestion, mode share and emissions has failed miserably. I hope the Wgtn Council has the mettle to deliver on promises, that is the hard part because anyone with a computer and the ability to cut and paste can produce policies and documents.
          In Auckland many of our policy frameworks are binding on no one, or at least not on the people who matter.

  6. Mill Road isn’t a rat run, it is the only road link saving 1km in one direction and about 3km in the other! If anything it needs to be upgraded!
    Your anti-car bias is strongly showing.

      1. @harrymc… maybe do your research before commenting. A rat run is to avoid traffic congestion, not a direct path.
        Here’s the actual definition for you from the Oxford dictionary “ a minor, typically residential street used by drivers during peak periods to avoid congestion on main roads.”
        Oh and nice assumption chump. Not “a paranoid petrol head” or any other kind of petrol head for that matter. I like to see a balanced transport policy and comments (I am a huge supporter of PT). What I do object to is anti-car bias for the sake of it rather than let’s add PT which has become more and more common of late on here. Mill Road is a goat track that should have been upgraded years ago and should have bike lanes etc on it too. Not “hey let’s close it off because we hate cars and want to make everyone drive further blocking up other roads (Including slowing buses) and creating more emissions”

    1. Just because a road is a shortcut doesn’t mean it needs to be upgraded to carry more traffic.

      The car is the easiest mode to travel a greater distance in so should be the lowest priority to have it’s route shortened if it impacts on other users of the road.

    2. Mill road is a rat run and doesn’t need upgrading. All the speed humps at least slow down traffic. I don’t agree with severing it as Heidi suggests (she also has said in the past that Meola should be severed as well). She is unashamedly anti-car, but that is her right. GA is a lobby group focused on getting people out of cars, so of course the posts are ant-car biased.
      The causes of it being a rat run should be addressed. As Heidi says it is largely due to the increased traffic since Waterview which has caused more congestion on SH16 city bound as well as blocking SH16/SH1 north connection. This has meant people don’t take the motorway (with lights) and instead go via Pt Chev / Meola. Now Meola is blocked people use Mill Rd to bypass it…. I also think it is due to Google. Google maps regularly suggests that way.
      It is also due to the configuration of the St Lukes onramp intersection and new Bullock track lights which has caused more congestion on Gt North Rd.

  7. I would have thought that rather then removing a community hall, the recycling centre would be better located on part of the gravel pit shown in the photo above where the 350 car parks are going. This has the benefit of removing some of those car parks and has much better accessibility. Also being a landfill site it has limited use in terms of what can be sited there compared to the Great North road site.

  8. I thought I remember a Guest Post on this blog from someone, (Phil Goff?), outlining his desire to see a green connection through here including a bridge across motorway at Motions Road connecting into Chamberlain Park.

    I’ve tried to search it but had no luck. Am I imagining it?

  9. Great read Heidi…

    The other thing I would like to see analysed is whether the amount of park space in grass is appropriate across Auckland.

    Western Springs with its 1 million users is probably ok as is; versus Cloverlea Reserve in Puni – That would be lucky to see 10 users per day over a site of approximately 5 acres of grass that is mowed once every 2 weeks in summer.

    There is a plethora of parks across Auckland that are utilised very poorly for the amount of space that is maintained (carbon emitting mowing) as generally wide open grasslands.
    If we added berms into this mix it would be a staggering amount of useless and expensive grass to maintain…( Batten down for a NIMBY attack)

    Anecdotally I think there would be many parks that could easily reduce the amount of land in grass and ‘re-vege’; whether that be native bush, urban gardens etc. This can be done while still having more than enough space to meet the needs of dog walkers and ball kickers alike.

    This would lead to greater biodiversity, carbon sequestration gains, carbon emission minimisation (less mowing), lower operational costs in the long run (less mowing), less erosion, greater ground permeability/flood management and generally nicer spaces to enjoy.

  10. How about a shared path through the golf course and over the motorway, would make Western Springs more accessible to Baldwin Ave station.

    1. The golfers have fought very hard to keep their privileged use of Chamberlain Park. There is some movement with the Local Board reaching an agreement on retention of an 18 hole course, plus some more public space, and stream and wetland remediation. Improved access for pedestrians and cyclists will (hopefully) be part of that.

  11. The improvements listed seem positive. And increasing the parking when pricing hasn’t even been started first seems like it must just be the people making the decision to add parking don’t understand parking?

    What could be done short term to prevent the new carpark from at least having no more spaces than the parking being removed on Meola Road?

    Is there anything in yesterday’s post about modeshift to help?

    If there’s nothing in that featured document to help here, is that document flawed?

    1. The decision in relation to the carpark was made by MOTAT as it has no dedicated parking for its visitors and the situation is only going to get worse because of the work at the Stadium and the Central Interceptor works which start on the rugby fields in 2021. Further the carpark enables AT to remove parking on Meola Road and to instal a cycleway and pedestrian crossings for the school children and other pedestrians.

      A full analysis of the parking need in the Western Springs was undertaken and confirms that there was a significant shortfall in parking especially for those visiting the Zoo, MOTAT, Seddon Fields and the other amenities in the precinct.

      1. Thanks Michael. Good to get background on carpark. I thought it was part of MOTAT lease. I hope AT provide you some funding for it and upkeep.
        When will it be built? And will it only be accessed from the zoo side or Meola too?

        1. Kia ora Stu – AT and the Local Board have provided some funding and support for the cycle and pedestrian way aspects of the carpark and for some of the associated cameras, lighting and other security measures. MOTAT will be responsible for its upkeep as it is on the land covered by the Museum’s long term and renewable lease.

          It is anticipated that work on carpark and associated infrastructure will start next year with a view to it being completed in 2021 before the work on the proposed cycleway on Meola Road starts and the start of the Central Interceptor work on the rugby fields on Stadium Road.

          The final design of MOTAT’s carpark etc is still being worked on, but it is anticipated that the main entrance to the carpark will be off Motions Road. Traffic flow between Meola and Motions Road will be restricted so that a “rat run” is not recreated, as that would expose those that are using the cycle and pedestrian way to risk and undermine the proposed pedestrian and landscaped sitting areas at the front of the museum’s entrance building.

          It is also anticipated that the car parking will have staggered charging so as to discourage all day parking and MOTAT, the Zoo and AT are working on plans that proactively promote the use of public transport to and from the Western Springs and it’s associated amenities.

          While the use of public transport and cycling etc is and will be encouraged, this is not a viable solution for all of the visitors to the Precinct, especially those travelling long distances across town or outside the Auckland region.

        2. Excellent Michael. Sounds like a well thought out plan.
          Heidi – maybe you could correct your post!
          Good that it won’t be a rat-run and entrance on Motions. I will admit to using your driveway in the past to cut through to Meola. It will be interesting to see how charging for parking will go down with the sports field users (who you are not obliged to provide parking for of course).
          As for the Meola cycleway, I think it should be one-way with the west bound next to current footpath, but I understand that was ruled out as would mean partly on MOTAT land.

        3. Stu, I haven’t read anything that means I need to correct my post. I said that the many improvements planned are undermined by the new carpark, and this is indeed the case. I mentioned the new cycleway and greenway.

          I believe Michael is quite mistaken when he says the land is
          “being developed into a carpark which will enable car parking to be removed from Meola Road, which will in turn enable the development of a cycleway along Meola Road and improve traffic flow and safety in the area.”

          AT assured the Streetscape CLG multiple times that this was not the case – the cycleway programme is not contingent on replacing carparking. Government and Council have instructed AT to reallocate road space to active modes and the streetscape is simply one more project in the programme to fulfill this requirement.

          To suggest that the pedestrian crossing and safe cycling can only come after the needs of people wanting to park cars are met is faulty, and not in line with the GPS, the Auckland Plan or Vision Zero. Indeed, it sums up the mindset problem we face.

          Lighting and security cameras, while useful, in no way replace good land use planning to provide passive surveillance for fundamental CPTED.

          Again, this is the uphill battle we face as we try to design cities that are people-friendly instead of designed around the car.

        4. Heidi. I think you need to be more reasonable and realistic. I understand your view that we should not use our cars (or even have cars) so we should not be spending money on carparks etc (but of course you are happy to fund the cycleway project from the petrol tax). But that does not mean everyone (or in reality many people) agrees with you. You have some great ideas and I appreciate your passion but you do need to listen to others as well!
          As I already pointed out AT in their marketing of the cycleway project state that the new carpark allows them to remove all parking from Meola. Which of course will get them more positive feedback on the project. You should take it up with them re this misinformation.

      2. To clarify, the parking report shows the highest average peak occupancy occurs on a Sunday, and is 74 percent, lower than the usual trigger for action of 85 percent. By looking at a subset of the parking, this value rises to 91 percent, but again, it is only on Sundays.

        Adding more parking under these circumstances is not Council policy, as there are many ways to manage demand without having to resort to poor land uses that work against the Council’s overarching climate, transport and compact city goals.

        The precinct members should have had travel plans – the Recreation Strategy requires AT and RFA to provide one for the football club, for example. This hasn’t been done, and the poorly managed parking there is a result of this failure. There should be dynamic priced parking, improved wayfinding for both pedestrians and for people searching for a space within the precinct to allow demand to level out. All these, combined with the improved cycling facilities, mean true demand is simply not known.

        The criteria for investment in a new off street facility have already been established. These have not been met. The subject should only be looked at when they have.

        1. Kia ora Stu – thank you for your reply. The Football Club supports the charging for the carpark. I hope that you have a great Christmas.

  12. It doesn’t look like you spoke to the Zoo, MOTAT or any of the other major institutions in the Western Springs precinct.

    The yellow space marked on your plan is not “public land” that is available for development. That land belongs to MOTAT as is being developed into a carpark which will enable car parking to be removed from Meola Road, which will in turn enable the development of a cycleway along Meola Road and improve traffic flow and safety in the area.

    The carpark will provide safe parking for those visiting the Western Springs especially those from outside the immediate area and public transport regime (e.g. those coming to play football on Seddon Fields).

    The carpark at MOTAT incorporates a cycleway and pedestrian pathway that will connect the Meola Road and Motions Road cycleways. The MOTAT pathway will incorporate lighting and cameras which will address the security and well being issues mentioned in the commentary.

    1. Bit dishonest to claim that land ‘belongs’ to Motat. You clearly know that the land is owned by Auckland Council, along with the rest.

      1. You are splitting hairs John D – the reality is that MOTAT has quiet enjoyment of the land in question for a number of decades with a right of renewal.

        1. Michael, MOTAT is governed by Council and RFA (ie Council) appointments. It receives considerable funding from ratepayers.

          It is splitting hairs to suggest this is not public land.

          And as for quiet enjoyment, the Stafford Report last year recommended all of the MOTAT 2 land be sold off. To achieve the changes recommended, the report notes, “it is possible to amend or repeal the various acts” Eg the MOTAT Act, “if this is seen as desirable and /or necessary to achieve the ďesired outcomes and if there are clear overarching public policy benefits from doing this.”

          For the record, I am a string supporter of Motat, have spent many weeks of my life there, and don’t wish to see MOTAT 2 sold.

          The land about to undergo a land use change, and be developed into a car park, is public land, provided by the public, and we have a right to discuss if the storage of private transport equipment is the best use of the land.

    2. I hope your suggestion that I haven’t spoken to precinct members is an invitation to attend precinct meetings. You may or may not be aware that I requested the chance to give input to the Flow report, that I asked to be able to attend the meetings about the car park, and that I requested a copy of the Flow Report as soon as it was available. AT felt it would be fine for me to have a copy, but the precinct refused. I continued to ask, appealing to a number of precinct members, and it was only on my fifth appeal, to you, that I was finally allowed to see it, and even then I was interrogated by your staff ąs to why.

      Thank you for this.

      I would very much like to be able to help increase the understanding of precinct members about the transport opportunities that exist within a compact city model. They do require leaving business as usual thinking behind. Precinct members can’t be expected to have a handle on the transformation needed to free Auckland from car dependency, and I’m aware from the football club that AT did not use the opportunity of attending precinct meetings to help in their education role during the planning around the carpark until recently.

      1. Morena Heidi. Dealing with your first message:

        MOTAT is not governed by the Council. It is an independent statutory entity that is governed by Board Members appointed by the Council and the MOTAT Society and the MOTAT Act makes it clear that those members must act in the best interest of the museum and not their appointing bodies.

        The funding mechanism for the museum is set by the MOTAT Act.

        While the land may be ultimately owned by or controlled by the Council, it is subject to a long term renewable lease in favour of MOTAT. MOTAT is entitled to the quite enjoyment and use of the land in question.

        The Stafford Report makes interesting reading but I wouldn’t put too much weight on it. They completely ignored most of the feedback they received from us, RFA and the other institutions covered by their review.

        So far as I am aware we do not need to apply for a change of use.

        Not sure what you mean by having a right to discuss whether the storage of public transport equipment is the best use of the land. The land was used to store equipment and materials for the development of the college but that was a temporary measure.

        Turning to your second response – the precinct meetings are there to help coordinate the activities between the various institutions and associations operating in the Western Springs and to get their input on the member’s projects (e.g. the carpark).

        The rest of your comments are noted.

        1. By Council appointments I did mean Council – appointed Board members but yes thanks for correcting me that the minority members are appointed by the MOTAT Society, not RFA (I had read that incorrectly).

          The IPCC has said we need to change what we do in every sector and at every level. The Western Springs Precinct is not exempt, and carparks on key transport corridors need to be targeted as land for housing to prevent further high emissions- creating sprawl.

          If you’d like to understand more about how parking directly prevents the uptake of active and public travel, and is a huge contributor to to our emissions, DSI, inequity and housing crisis, GA have published many posts on the topic. Here’s one :


          If you’d like to understand how building cycleways doesn’t require mitigation of parking loss, you could read :


          I wonder when consultation for you carpark is going to happen, and would like to point out that with so much at stake, if it is not, this is yet another bias towards the status quo car any planning mindset.

          Despite our difference in opinion, I don’t believe it is insurmountabe. I love Motat. I think the changes made to increase the proportion of young adults and poorer children attending Motat are great. Motat has a very important role to play. I think some of the Stafford Report’s observations could be useful in trying to prevent commercial considerations from dictating art and heritage operations, including Motat’s.

          I wish you a happy Christmas too, and hope we can have an ongoing discussion about a vision for a better city, one in which planning for each precinct contributes to the health and well-being of all, via lower traffic volumes and healthier transport.

      2. “It is an independent statutory entity”

        So it’s public, just like AT, and any land it may have is public. So the public should get input into any use.

  13. Could the new 65 route be routed down Motions road then down a revamped MOTAT 2 driveway with a bus only section down by the tram terminal. That would provide public transport to several attractions and being a frequent service could also be used to reduce the car parking in the area.

    1. The short answer is no Darren. The land belongs to MOTAT and the “revamped driveway” is for pedestrians, cyclists and MOTAT’s use.

        1. Too right John D as (a) the “driveway” in question is not a public road (b) running buses down it on a regular basis would put the museum’s visitors and staff at risk and (c) put those cycling and walking along the “pathway” (e.g. students) at considerable risk. If you want to be more constructive, you could suggest to AT/Auckland Council help MOTAT improve the tram infrastructure so that modern trams can run between Meola Road and Great North Road

        2. Better stop cars driving down it if you are concerned about putting visitors and staff at risk. The injury rate of pedestrians being hit by cars is around a thousand times higher than being hit by buses.

          Putting modern trams on your museum line would be almost useless, definitely far less useful than bus access. Constructive would be improving viable public transport that Aucklanders could actually use for transport to your site. But you seem to have some irrational hatred of buses, which seems very strange for someone in your position.

  14. John D – we stopped cars going down there sometime ago for the reason you identified. It’s a bit of a strange leap of logic to conclude that I have an irrational hatred of buses because I don’t want a bus route down our driveway putting people or the museums operations at risk. Modern trams or light rail that ran from the CBD along Great North Road has been suggested in the past and if that ever got the green light, modern trams to the museum would be definitely with a look. I think we have debated this enough John D – enjoy the rest of the week.

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