A new trial road layout in Henderson town centre to help improve traffic flow and provide a safe alternative for people to use bikes, scooters and public transport is set to begin this week.
Since November last year, Panuku Development Auckland and Auckland Transport have been working with a community advisory group on the project, called Henderson Streets for People. The advisory group is made up of representatives from Te Kawerau a Maki, Henderson-Massey Local Board, community leaders, businesses, residents and agencies. Their role is to look at options and ideas to make central Henderson Streets safer, more vibrant and less dominated by traffic.
The Henderson Streets for People trial will test:
- A temporary traffic flow plan, where most traffic will be directed around Henderson and a trial one-way system along part of Railside Avenue
- A large intersection artwork created by local artist Jermaine Reihana who was appointed by mana whenua and Panuku will be installed at the intersection of Great North Road, Railside Avenue and Ratanui Street. Jermaine has created a contemporary interpretation of Tāniko, Whāriki and Tukutuku (weaving patterns) to highlight the significance of Henderson as a place where both people and the twin streams (Opanuku and Oratia) come together to meet
- Upgrading an existing crossing point on Great North Road to trial a zebra crossing to give pedestrians priority
- Installing planters and buffers to trial safe shared paths connecting from the twin streams paths into the centre of Henderson
- Trialling a new temporary bus lane leading into and out of the Henderson bus interchange on Railside Ave
- A trial parklet with outdoor chairs and tables outside the Zoo Bar and Café on Great North Road
Henderson-Massey Local Board member Ingrid Papau says clear priorities came through in the feedback from those who live and work in Henderson.
“Giving Henderson some love is a top priority for businesses and the community. Other priorities include making streets and footpaths safer and more liveable and better links between existing path networks such as Twin Streams. The resulting design not only allows this but ensures there’s no loss of carparking for those who are driving into the centre of Henderson to work or shop.
“Celebrating our local mana whenua storytelling into the town centre in a colourful, vibrant way was also key and we’re very excited to see the designs created by Jermaine Reihana celebrate and bring these traditional stories to life,” she says.
Waitākere Ward Councillor Shane Henderson can see the potential benefits to the Henderson town centre that the flexibility of the trial provides.
“I am very much looking forward to hearing back from people on the temporary changes and whether it offers the changes they’ve hoped.
“I’m proud to support this trial. Henderson needs love, needs investment, and needs fresh thinking.
“With a trial, we can test what works for residents and local businesses and what doesn’t. This has been designed with the wants and needs of West Aucklanders that have called for improvements to the town centre for many years.
“This is part of an ongoing conversation with the people of Henderson. It is important that you get down there, experience the changes, and let us know what you support. We need to know what will return Henderson to its traditional status as the heartland of the West, a place to seek opportunity to live, work and learn” he says.
Project design lead, Niko Elsen says over the past six months the project team has been actively working with the local community who have provided a huge number of ideas and suggestions - all of which have been considered and ultimately fed into the current design.
“The response and number of locals who have been involved in this process has been fantastic. We ran information sessions in a pop-up shop in Railside Ave, at the Henderson Christmas Festival, Te Puna market and other local events, and the feedback and suggestions have shaped the trial designs that will be rolled out over the next few weeks.
“The next step is to see how these ideas work in practice and find out from the people who use these places what’s working and what isn’t. We’ll be rolling out these ideas over the next few weeks, so if something isn’t working or locals would like something changed, the project team can tweak or remove them. The first change that locals will notice is some road-art marking on Trading Place,” he says.
“Access to town centre businesses doesn’t change, although cars may have to drive a slightly different way. There’ll be no changes to parking and for those who regularly use public transport there is also no change to bus routes through the town centre.
“The co-design approach means working with those who live and work in Henderson to design quick, temporary improvements to test and trial how well they work. One of the project’s goals is to reduce the amount of unnecessary traffic in the town centre so that it becomes a destination, rather than a short-cut.”
To make sure it’s working well for everyone, a dedicated page has been created for feedback throughout the trial here.
All comments and suggestions will be monitored and any changes or tweaks to the design can be made as needed during the temporary installation. At the completion of the trial, all feedback will be assessed and presented back to the local board, which will help guide whether these changes are viable long-term.
Panuku is committed through its urban regeneration programme to deliver a flourishing urban eco-centre for Henderson. To achieve this, they are trialling a number of changes to improve safety and connections for people walking and cycling, attract more people through increasing colour and vibrancy and direct traffic around the town centre.
These changes have been made possible through the support of Waka Kotahi’s Innovating Streets programme, which funds community-based initiatives to make streets safer and more liveable – more information on this can be found here.