Council’s bold city centre vision gets the big tick

Publish Date : 05 Mar 2020
Council’s bold city centre vision gets the big tick 3
Concept design of a greener and more people friendly Quay Street

Auckland’s innovative vision for its city centre – a more liveable, green and people friendly future – is here with today’s adoption of a refreshed City Centre Masterplan.

Auckland Council’s Planning Committee has agreed the high level 20-year vision for the city centre and waterfront off the back of an overwhelming 76 per cent support through public consultation.

Updating the 2012 Masterplan, the key focus on new transformational designs - Access for Everyone, Grafton Gully Boulevard and Māori Outcomes - provide for a welcoming, safe and vibrant city centre featuring greener and healthier spaces, easier access and well-connected rapid transit and pedestrian-friendly streets.

Mayor Phil Goff says the changes will contribute to making Auckland a world-class destination.

“For Aucklanders and visitors alike, we want the city centre to be a place where people want to go. It needs to be a vibrant, exciting and environmentally attractive place to be in, as well as a thriving residential and employment centre.

“That means building the city centre around people, not motor vehicles.

“A city centre which is more accessible and less congested will have a better and healthier environment and will be a great place to relax in and enjoy.

“The city centre creates 20 per cent of Auckland’s GDP, and making it stronger increases the economic wellbeing of the whole city,” Phil Goff said.

Council’s bold city centre vision gets the big tick 2
Concept design of Grafton Gully Boulevard - image credit: Jasmax

Councillor Chris Darby, Planning Committee chair, says Auckland is changing rapidly, so we must accelerate the shift from a drive-through city centre, to a go-to city centre – and sooner, rather than later. 

“Our city centre is already becoming an exciting destination for people. Over 80,000 Aucklanders jump onto public transport to the city each morning peak and pedestrian numbers have doubled since 2012 with people making around 500,000 city centre walking trips per day.

"Right now, there is $16 billion of private and public investment underway which will only speed up the transformation of our city centre.

“This people focussed change isn’t a nice to have, it’s fundamental for our city centre to work successfully and to support the changing ways Aucklanders want to use it, " he says. 

The Masterplan's key concept Access for Everyone will transform how city centre streets are used with more inclusive spaces where public transport, walking and cycling, micro mobility and freight access is the priority, while maintaining access for drivers.

“Fewer vehicles in our city centre dramatically reduces carbon emissions improving the health of Aucklanders, and together with our future use of zero-emission public transport, it will deliver on council’s commitment to create a zero-emissions zone in our city centre by 2030 - that’s significant.   

“Aucklanders are chomping at the bit to have it done. So, now our priority is to work together over the next year to deliver a comprehensive implementation plan for how Access for Everyone is taken from a concept to real life spaces people will love.

"We'll also be looking at a pilot of Access for Everyone on Queen Street by March 2021 to coincide with street closures for City Rail Link construction and other opportunities to give Aucklanders a glimpse of the future.  

“Let’s be clear, we are fundamentally changing how our city centre and its transport system works, we must take Aucklanders along with us on this journey of change. So having a robust plan in place with the funding and resources available to turn vision into reality is an essential next step,” says Councillor Darby.

The full City Centre Masterplan will be available as a digital document on the council’s website in April 2020.

The key focus areas of the refreshed City Centre Masterplan include:

Māori Outcomes: Our place in the world

Working closely with Mana Whenua, a range of unique initiatives and developments will provide all Aucklanders and visitors with a deeper understanding of Mana Whenua histories, associations and aspirations within the city centre and waterfront. Collaboration, innovation, creativity and the direct involvement of Mana Whenua will develop and deliver a thriving Māori culture and identity for the area, from which Aucklanders and visitors will benefit.

Tāmaki Makaurau - our place in the world, firmly grounded here in Aotearoa, looking confidently across Te Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa out into the world.

Access for Everyone

Within the next decade, the Waihorotiu Queen Street Valley will transform into a pedestrian-friendly area with open public spaces for people to enjoy and explore and more options for walking, cycling and public transport.

It envisions creating nine low-traffic neighbourhoods diverting through traffic around the city centre while preserving access for vehicles going to the city and for emergency vehicles and services including rubbish collection, building access and deliveries. This will deliver a Zero-Emissions Area in the city centre by 2030 significantly improving air quality.

Council’s bold city centre vision gets the big tick
Concept diagram of Access for Everyone - image credit: LandLAB

Grafton Boulevard: New eastern gateway to the city centre

The vision is to complete SH16 to Tāmaki Drive as a tree-lined multi-way boulevard to improve connections and access to the port area and eastern suburbs – creating a new eastern gateway to the city centre and extend the city centre’s vibrancy to the east. It will also improve road safety and better walking, cycling and public transport connections.

Back to News