Ques­tion mark over CBD green link

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JAMES PASLEY

The trans­for­ma­tion of a key Auck­land street into a green pedes­trian link is in jeop­ardy.

Lin­ear Park is a pro­posed walk­way that would join Vic­to­ria Park and Al­bert Park, which had unan­i­mous sup­port from Auck­land Coun­cil.

The link was part of Auck­land’s 20 year City Cen­tre Master­plan, and would recre­ate Vic­to­ria St as a green, pedes­tri­an­fo­cused road with fewer traf­fic lanes and wider foot­paths be­neath a canopy of trees.

How­ever if an op­tion for a bus route pro­posed by Auck­land Trans­port (AT) goes ahead the park would not be fea­si­ble.

In March AT launched its con­sul­ta­tion for the Mid­town bus route, seek­ing feed­back about which route would work best for buses trav­el­ling from San­dring­ham Rd, New North Rd and Re­muera Rd out of the city.

AT’s pre­ferred op­tion ‘Out­bound on Vic­to­ria St’ would have buses use Vic­to­ria St, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to re­duce lanes and mak­ing Lin­ear Park un­likely.

Cli­mate change group Gen­er­a­tion Zero was rallying against the pre­ferred op­tion.

The group ad­vo­cated for AT’s sec­ond op­tion ‘Out­bound On Welles­ley St’, which it ar­gued would al­low Lin­ear Park to hap­pen and pro­vide a bet­ter route for buses.

This op­tion would have buses en­ter­ing and leav­ing the city cen­tre via Welles­ley Street.

Gen­er­a­tion Zero spokesper­son Leroy Beck­ett said it didn’t have to be a choice be­tween func­tional bus routes and Lin­ear Park.

‘‘The sec­ond op­tion sends buses straight up Welles­ley St, it’s the most di­rect op­tion and it seems to make the most sense,’’ Beck­ett said.

‘‘We need space for peo­ple, we need space es­pe­cially for pedes­tri­ans to be able to walk east to west and this could trans­form the city.’’

AT spokesper­son James Ire­land said it iden­ti­fied Vic­to­ria Street as its pre­ferred op­tion for a num­ber of rea­sons.

Ire­land said Vic­to­ria St al­ready had bus stop in­fra­struc­ture, whereas Welles­ley St would re­quire putting in ad­di­tional traf­fic lights.

He said us­ing Welles­ley St would re­quire the use of a nar­row slip lane on the ap­proach to Sy­monds St, which was a pedes­trian-filled area.

Trans­port com­men­ta­tor for Greater Auck­land Matt Lowrie said AT’s pre­ferred op­tion was the worst op­tion for buses.

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