The chang­ing face of Auck­land’s CBD

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - MARIA SLADE

A pro­posal to close one of Auck­land’s main thor­ough­fares to traf­fic em­bod­ies am­bi­tious plans for the city.

Auck­land Coun­cil de­sign cham­pion Ludo Camp­bell-Reid says Vic­to­ria St will be turned into a ‘‘lin­ear park’’, stretch­ing from east to west across the CBD, if city plan­ners have their way.

It is one of a string of projects aimed at trans­form­ing Auck­land from a city of cars to a mod­ern cen­tre de­signed around the move­ments of peo­ple.

A much grander but largely hid­den project, the long awaited City Rail Link, was putting Vic­to­ria Street’s up­grade on hold ‘‘much to my an­noy­ance’’, Camp­bell-Reid said.

How­ever, there was prepa­ra­tion work that could be done now, par­tic­u­larly un­der­ground, he said.

Stretch­ing from Al­bert Park in the east to Vic­to­ria Park in the west, the long strip of gar­den will pro­vide badly-needed green space in the down­town area.

About $16 bil­lion will be spent on pub­lic and pri­vate projects in Auck­land’s CBD over the next 10 years, in­clud­ing $2.4b on the CRL.

He says the CBD is un­der­go­ing a meta­mor­pho­sis.

Twenty-five years ago just 1900 peo­ple lived there. To­day there are about 40,000.

‘‘The way we move about our city will be to­tally turned upon its head - peo­ple will cy­cle, walk, come by ferry, share cars, get on trams.

‘‘In the old days trans­port en­gi­neers were the bane of my life, be­cause their fo­cus wasn’t on the peo­ple. Now it’s about ur­ban de­sign [lead­ing] the vi­sion.’’

Even sim­ple moves like re­mov­ing left-hand turns slowed cars down and cre­ated more space for peo­ple and land­scap­ing, he said.

Sev­eral one-way, shared space CBD streets now al­low cy­clists to pedal both ways too.

‘‘Do that a hun­dred times over the city and you start to cre­ate a place where peo­ple are the cus­tomer.’’

Camp­bell-Reid has a team of four work­ing on what he calls ‘‘ur­ban acupunc­ture’’ - pop up in­stal­la­tions around the town that aim to subtly change at­ti­tudes about what a city is.

A re­cent ex­am­ple is Pi­ano Steps at the main en­trance to the Aotea Cen­tre, as a visi­tor walks up the stairs a note plays.

These ini­tia­tives are funded out of the an­nual $20m tar­geted rate city cen­tre busi­nesses pay.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Vic­to­ria St could be turned into a lin­ear park stretch­ing east to west across the CBD.

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