A trial to create a safer and more vibrant High Street for everyone has begun today.
In this first phase, the area along High Street, from Shortland Street to Vulcan Lane has been rebalanced to provide more space for people.
Mayor Phil Goff says the project is about designing High Street for the needs of the people who use it most.
“Traffic and pedestrian counts show that there are 14 pedestrians for every person in a vehicle on High Street,” he says.
“Upgrading the streetscape will ensure that pedestrians are no longer squeezed onto narrow footpaths by relatively few cars and will improve enjoyment, safety and help to improve air quality by reducing vehicle emissions.
“With nearly 60,000 people now living in the city centre and more than 100,000 travelling in each day for work, study and play, it’s important that we look at how we can improve the amenity of our streets for people, not just vehicles.
“This trial on High Street presents a fantastic opportunity to do things differently and will help create a thriving commercial and cultural precinct for Aucklanders and visitors to enjoy.”
North Shore Ward Councillor Chris Darby says, “We are reconceptualising our approach to urban space by promoting design that recognises people as essential to the fabric of city life.
“Improved pedestrian access and enhanced accessibility for service vehicles, emergency services and people with disabilities will build on the unique character of the High Street precinct while revitalising it for 21st century living.”
Cam Perkins of Auckland Council’s Design Office says he’s thrilled to see the trial begin.
“Over the past few months, we have worked with Heart of the City, High Street businesses and residents to understand what they want to see for High Street.
“As a result of our co-design process we’ve installed decking to create wider footpaths, bike racks and planters with edible plants. The wider footpaths will make it safer for pedestrians and for those using personal mobility devices. Vehicle access will be maintained which is particularly important to support business deliveries and servicing.
“The changes will also improve lines of sight so that people can better appreciate the wonderful heritage buildings along High Street.
“The changes represent a lighter and faster approach that we can learn from and adapt for future projects. We’ll be monitoring and evaluating how people and vehicles use the space.”
Heart of the City Chief Executive Viv Beck says the trial is a great way to test street improvements without disrupting trade.
“High Street businesses have been part of the design process from the start. We are all conscious of people’s livelihoods, especially as we head into the busy shopping season for retailers.
“High Street is a fabulous part of the city centre and is a special place for many. This project celebrates and enhances its unique qualities.
“We are looking forward to seeing how it works and will be speaking regularly with businesses to get their feedback on the trial.”
Stage two of the project will run from Vulcan Lane to Durham Lane and is planned to start from February 2020. Feedback from the High Street community on stage one will inform this next phase.
We’ll be monitoring how the space works and asking for your feedback. Share your thoughts with us at HighSt@AucklandCouncil.govt.nz