Auckland’s newest shared space was officially opened this week and it looks great. The shared space is the 100m+ southern section of Federal St between Mayoral Dr and Wellesley St. The upgrade was first consulted on in late 2017, highlighting just how long even small sections like this take. It also follows on from the upgrade to the Wellesley St to Victoria St section that was completed in 2014.

The Mayoral Drive end of Federal Street is now a tree-lined, pedestrian-scale, community-focused shared space.

The pōhutukawa of St-Matthew-in-the-City now stand beside 13 native trees – pūriri, tānekaha, rewarewa and white maire – some more than six metres tall.

The new trees have been planted along the western side of this 100-metre lane at the southern end of Federal Street.

This Auckland Council-led project features a design narrative, developed in partnership with mana whenua, referencing ideas of compassion, community, home and wellbeing. Those ideas are reflected through warmer paving materials, seating and shelter along the new street.

The space was formally opened on 19 July. Aucklanders can expect an inviting place to sit and relax, enhanced lighting to support the inclusive feeling of the area, and nine rain gardens filtering stormwater before it reaches the waterways.

I haven’t had a chance to check the upgrade out yet but the council provided a few photographs of the transformation

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Here’s a quick ride through the space as well as a before and after from Mayor Phil Goff

That there is no through-route should hopefully help this section avoid some of the issues of other shared streets with cars using them as rat runs at times. But the real test here is going to be how well, if at all, Auckland Transport enforce parking. Going by how they treat enforcement in the rest of the city it won’t be long till the place is overrun by illegal parkers and along with that some of the features damaged, such as the rain gardens. Even Phil Goff it seems expects a lack of enforcement based on this from a Newsroom article.

Goff said it’s a place where people “would want to linger” – hopefully not illegally in their vehicles, as he said he hoped illegal parking would not be a problem and wanted to see more powers granted by central Government to Auckland Council to deal with parking infringements.

The upgrade might only be a short area but is a great addition to the city.

The next improvement’s we’ll see completed in the city centre will be the upgrade to Queen St later this year and then the Myers Park Underpass upgrade by the end of summer 2022/23

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42 comments

  1. Yeah but what is the Auckland city debt looking like now, and how much more will the rent payers have to pay for their increased landlords rates. Very kinky how more and more people are rent payers today and the Auckland city debt goes out of control when a labour led mayor takes control, are we going to have a open book finance report like the central government does before a election ?

    1. These works are funded by the City Centre Targetted Rate, an additional rate on city centre residents and businesses. This is locally funded investment into local improvement. Place quality is valuable.

    2. You’ll find that this project amongst many others was funded solely by ratepayers in the central city through the city centre targeted rate.

    3. These works are funded by the City Centre Targeted Rate (CCTR). This is paid by residents and businesses in the city centre *in addition to* their normal rates. In other words, these are city centre upgrades financed by people that use the city centre. If you don’t pay CCTR, they haven’t cost you a cent.

      1. Hello, Hello, wake up, wake up, rent payers come in next to rate payers, if rates goes up, next it is the rent that goes up, learn basic mathematics.
        Like petrol cost, Once I heard someone say “Strange how petrol price is fast to go up but never goes down” the fact is, once petrol users start to put up prices like carrier people for delivery cost, it is set in stone the higher cost for petrol is here to stay.

        It is concept labour people find hard to understand, prior to the 1980’s Rogernomics, inflation was high, Rodger comes along closes all the factories, so now all the cheap imports are cheaper, inflation went down, but now we need a “increase tax” political party to pay for all the people who lost their income from the factories that have closed down.

        1. What are you on about…?

          Rents are set by supply and demand.

          After the costs to produce it are covered, the price of a good does not depend on the cost to produce it, only supply and demand sets the price.

        2. Yes, you’re spot on. Also keeps those pesky shoppers and essential tradies at bay.

      2. Is there an echo in here? I used to have to drive into here weekly to drop off a primitive paper based payroll system into Datacom to process.

        1. far out man, the rates goes up, I am sure all the landlords or landladies are not going to say “oh dear how sad, I guess I will just have absorb the rate increase out of my own pocket and have reduced savings.”
          NO MORON they are going to pass the rate increase straight onto their tenants. and the rant payers are paying for all this, just like GST hits the bottom of the heap.

        2. Eric, this isn’t how markets work. Businesses (landlords in this case) don’t set prices as “cost plus”. They set prices at what the market will bear. Renters don’t suddenly have more money with which to bid up the price of housing.

          If you like anecdotes, then I know multiple people at my work who brought rental properties last year primarily to speculate on house prices, and have rented them out at significantly below what their costs are. I also happened to find out what my old landlord was paying for their mortgage, and despite buying a decade ago, they were barely cash-flow positive. There are a lot (a lot a lot) of landlords in the city that lose money.

          You can argue that these rates will increase rental costs through making the rental market less attractive to participate in lowering supply, and much more significantly, the street improvements will make housing there cost more because the area is more attractive. But “passing on the cost” simply isn’t how this works.

          If you’re interested the CCTR is 62$ a year per per “flat / apartment”. And a different calculation for businesses. If I lived there or planned on living there long term, then that is a steal of a deal to have nice streets.

    4. The Auckland coucil debt is mostly down to having to go halves in the critically important CRL, while getting given motorways for free.

      “Very kinky how more and more people are rent payers today…”

      I would normally say what every floats your boat, but inter generational wealth hoarding combined with suppression of housing supply leading to people being stuck renting, is kinda a sore spot.

    1. Shared spaces are much nicer when people are not sharing with cars. Long may this space remain car-free.

    2. They do look like they’ve attempted to place more objects to reduce places for illegal parking, but based on Fort Street, the trees themselves need more protection – it doesn’t take long before trucks reverse into them and kills them off. Any replacement then takes years to happen, if ever.
      The only solution seems to be the mythical CCTV enforcement and increased fines. At present every single shared space in the city becomes a massive carpark after-hours when the minimal enforcement during the day seems to completely stop.

      1. Indeed. Much better to make it very hard for cars to access shared spaces. Compared to enforcement, CCTV, etc rising bollards are MUCH more effective at confining cars to the car-spaces and should be standard features for shared space in Auckland.

      2. That mythical enforcement very much exists overseas, and it is able to keep pedestrianised spaces and bike lanes car free even without a single bollard.

        A few well-placed bollards certainly help but I don’t think these sort of problems are solvable without any enforcement.

        1. Yeah agree, get those bollards out there – shared spaces are so bad for pedestrians. Hate walking around the various ones in Auckland CBD. City of London does the same and they are proper solid wrought iron and actually look nice.

        2. There are many cities which are full of bollards, Amsterdam and Paris are quite well-known examples.

          https://www.google.com/maps/@52.3617621,4.8897907,3a,27.2y,277.77h,85.25t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s4ljjru2FxTY5MVaSXzCTCA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

          But there are also many examples of cities who manage to avoid having these spaces stacked full of cars all the time without bollards.

          https://www.google.com/maps/@50.8792466,4.7019849,3a,75y,68.64h,88.18t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1syhffl7tCbV_lcz4c05e0hw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

          I don’t know how much street furniture is there on this new shared space and on a newly built space it would have been a good idea to use bollards to narrow the space for cars, but it is a myth that you can’t solve parking problems without bollards.

        3. And also, they could have added more street furniture but thanks to said lack of enforcement, it is only a question of time before cars and trucks will knock it over.

    3. Cars don’t share,they are a dominant predator,and take over the ecosystem,choking all other forms of life

  2. cars will still have to use the street, from memory theres something like 500 car park spaces that are only accessable from this stretch of federal (including the massive appartment block at the end).
    It was a favourite spot for ubers to hover prior to waiting for their next trip, so trying to dissuade them was a key priority.
    The other key connection not mentioned in te above article is through the newly completed Auckland City Mission, there is an open thoroughfare through the mission, providing another great pedestrian connection between Federal street and Hobson Street.

    1. Yes we need many of those, the typical length of a city block over here is more than 200 metres, this large size is a serious barrier to making it easy to walk between random points on these streets.

  3. Cars don’t belong In the CBD. Shared spaces that involve cars is a flawed concept. Queen street from mayoral drive down should be closed to cars. No vision. Sooner we become part of Oz the better Thos place is run by a bunch of muppets

  4. This looks very nice, must a have a look soon.
    I note it’s part of a “cycleway” from Vincent St, being a bit closer to the Queen St Valley than Nelson St.

  5. I used to live in the apartment block at the end. I’ve been through 501s, Covid escapees, heaps of construction etc. Lots of issues with social housing in this area. The YWCA bdcoking 8 stories of social housing further up, the homeless using benches on Federal for sleeping at all hours, the dairy going bust, it isn’t an improvement in people, just aesthetics for a short period of time. The number of people that drink in the car park is astounding. It isn’t a nice place to hang out which is why we moved. Not safe no matter how many native trees and rain drains and lights you put in.

  6. Better than before but still feels uninviting and soulless. Not enough to make me want to come here.

    The vehicle path is so wide and straight that people don’t feel safe to walk on the middle. The “shared” space really have no point.

    After a couple years this place will be worn and dirty, with homeless and drug dealers hanging around.

    It does seem many of the the recent place making project doesn’t deliver. Did the new placemaking team really learnt any lesson?

    I started to lose trust to this bureaucratic. Poor PT, poor execution, over-budget, failed to deliver.

      1. Interesting points. I agree with both Kelvin above and Zippo. It is a bit soulless etc (only so much money available I suppose). Problems with homeless / cars / AT parking enforcement being rubbish etc (just like the rest of the city centre). But hopefully with the city rail link, new station / new apartments + residents, it’ll bring a ton more people into the area which will liven it up somewhat.

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