Ōtāhuhu residents are now enjoying a safer and greener town centre as the revitalisation of the town centre nears completion.
Ōtāhuhu now boasts its first shared walking-cycling path in Station Road, wider pavements, new native trees, rain gardens for filtering stormwater and new street furniture, including seating and light columns.
The width of Station Road and Princes Street have been narrowed to remove the heavy vehicles that drove through the heart of the town centre. New traffic signals installed at the intersection of Great South Road and Princes Street, along with improved pedestrian crossings and raised tables are providing a safer environment for pedestrians, especially school children crossing the street to access Ōtāhuhu Primary School.
“It has been great to see the investment in the Ōtāhuhu main street, revitalising the Ōtāhuhu precinct. The new design and upgrade of the Ōtāhuhu Town Centre is modern and refreshing. It is welcoming for the community to enjoy the new surroundings," says Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board chair Lemauga Lydia Sosene.
“As a community we advocated for many years for a safer town centre with slower speeds and less heavy vehicles so that it could be a more welcoming environment, so it’s great that people now have somewhere they can linger and connect with other members of the community,” says Sosene.
A new public space has been created at the northern gateway, and the entry points into the town centre are complemented by decorative wayfinding artworks, which are illuminated at night, and have been designed with mana whenua to acknowledge the cultural heritage of Ōtāhuhu.
Station Road’s power lines are now underground, with modern streetlights replacing existing power poles. Improved directional signage and a shared walking-cycling path is making it easier for people to move between the town and community centre with the $28 million Ōtāhuhu bus and rail station.
Importantly, 15 new native trees have been planted along Station Road, with 26 in total expected by the end of the full transformation works. This is an essential contribution to increasing the overall number of trees in the town centre, particularly with the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu local board area identified as having the lowest average canopy cover across the Auckland region.
Richette Rodger, Town Manager for the Ōtāhuhu Business Association says “The upgrade has given many of our local businesses a well-deserved boost in morale especially after the crippling effects of COVID-19 on our local economy throughout 2020. Seeing the first half of the Ōtāhuhu upgrade completed before the Christmas trade, retailers are going into the end of the year with a sense of pride and energy.
“The Town Centre looks beautiful, new, clean and the feedback from the community and visitors to our town has been awesome”, she says.
The contractor, JFC Ltd, is in the final stages of the project, which include footpath improvements at the Mason Avenue intersection, and the addition of planting, lighting and street furniture on Great South Road between the Mason Avenue and Princes Street intersection. The $16 million town centre upgrade, which began in September 2019 is due for completion in late December 2020 with minor works to be completed at the Atkinson Avenue intersection in early 2021.
Due to the financial impacts of COVID-19 on Auckland Council, funding is no longer available for the upgrade of Great South Road between Mason Avenue and High Street. This was signalled earlier this year through the Emergency Budget consultation.
For more information on the improvements underway, visit the Ōtāhuhu town centre transformation at Auckland Council.