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A visit to Hobsonville Point Development

Just over a week ago I went out to Hobsonville point for the opening of the ferry wharf, but I didn’t actually have a chance to look around the rest of the development. So last weekend my wife and I went out to Hobsonville again to have a better look around the development, as well as have lunch at the Catalina Cafe. The good news is that I can honestly say I was quite impressed by what I saw. Many of the features incorporated into the development so far are exactly what we promote here on the blog.

Below is an overview of the development with the recently opened wharf at the top left of the image, and the Catalina Cafe roughly in the middle next to the Hobsonville Point park. This area is also where the first houses have been built, some of which are already occupied. I love that developers have gone for a grid-type layout as opposed to the typical cul-de-sac that we have so often seen.

The first thing I noticed is that no work has been done to widen the main road currently running through the development – Buckley Ave. Compared to most new developments it is much narrower, which is superb as it helps to reinforce for drivers that they are in a residential area and should slow down. Along with the visual queues the posted speed limit is only 30kph, as shown in this wonderful sign:

Speed Sign

Here is a view of Buckley Ave from outside the cafe:

Buckley Ave

In the background you can see some of the newly-built houses. You can tell right from the start that the area is higher in density than other developments over the last few decades. The narrow streets exist through these houses too. The developers have gone a step further by ensuring that footpaths carry on through intersections with the side streets, making them more pedestrian friendly.

Housing Street

Continuious Footpath

As the main street is narrow and currently subject to low traffic volumes, there aren’t any formal crossings. However it is still clear to both pedestrians and drivers where these crossing-points are. Any paved area that connects with the road for pedestrian use also contains these bollards:

Buckley Ave Pedestian crossing

One thing I hadn’t noticed at the wharf opening is that access to the wharf area is actually via a shared space. Although interestingly, it is controlled by lights as it only wide enough for one vehicle.

Hobsonville Shared Space

Further around the development the new primary school appears to have been completed, along with part of what I assume will be the main road through the development – Hobsonville Point Rd. Once again this road is not a massive arterial which is great, and also includes cycle lanes, an urban corner park and bus stop:

Hobsonville Point Rd

Hobsonville Point Rd 2

And lastly the new primary school:

Hobsonville Point Primary School

All up there are some great things going on here which is good to see.

31 comments to A visit to Hobsonville Point Development

  • Max

    So – following up on the heated discussion in the previous post – how do the raised speed tables in the fifth photo seem to work here? Seeing that like the one Patrick was so concerned about near Victoria Park, these here also do not legally provide any pedestrian priority, and could be argued to “confuse” the situation?

    • But Max, the sign says Shared Space, unlike those other ped tables with signs saying ‘pedestrians give way to vehicles’. If you look at the comments that is the our primary objection to what are confused applications of uncertainty.

      • jonno1

        Wasn’t Max referring to the 5th image – not obviously part of the shared space? However, my expectation is that it will work well in an urban environment such as this, ie primarily local traffic both on foot and in vehicles, with good visibility. This contrasts with (say) the raised table in Kingdon St, Newmarket, just off Khyber Pass Rd, which is highly confusing and way too close to the intersection.

        I live on a narrow street, OK a cul-de-sac but with interconnecting walkways, and it’s treated effectively as a shared space with a posted speed limit of 20 km/h which everyone observes (well, maybe not the occasional teenager, but they soon get sorted out!).

        • yes and I’m sure max will agree that each case is specific- I’m sure this will work well here too. But there is no through traffic here, this is effectively an island, traffic is already calmed.

          • jonno1

            You’ve reminded me that my street has a raised table at its entrance as a traffic calming measure, it has no particular purpose for pedestrians as the footpath is on one side only. But while Hobsonville Point has a grid system I agree it’s effectively a series of urban islands.

          • Max

            The shared space is a different area from the 5th photo, which shows one of the (from memory, many) side streets of the development where such raised tables exist. And our discussion in the other thread was quite a bit more generic, with Patrick seeming to object, in general, to a raised table without pedestrian priority. The wider environment or general speed environment wasn’t even brought up in that discussion. It was pretty much solely a discussion on whether mixed messages have benefit, or not.

            I do not object to raised tables WITH pedestrian priority (zebras). They are great. What I am emphasising is that even without, they are suitable to improve the lot of pedestrians over side streets that have nothing, and as such, I support them.

            Also, we can always paint a zebra on them later, if we want to.

  • jonno1

    Matt L, yes, a great result. I’m asssuming the section of Buckley Ave between Hobsonville Rd and Squadron Drive has been widenened a bit, or at least kerbed and channelled (I haven’t been up there for a while so maybe not). But if you look on Google, which is way out of date, you’ll see it was pretty scruffy as far as the old security hut prior to completion of SH18 and closure of the tail end of Hobsonville Rd.

    • No that section is still untouched. The only bit with changes is after the intersection of Squadron Dr where the houses now are. Once you get past the Catalina Cafe, it is also untouched. There are some newer images on the councils GIS viewer. One thing I noticed and even mentioned to my wife on the way home was you really notice the difference once you get back to the old Hobsonville Rd. Being much wider you felt like you should be driving much faster too.

  • Steve D

    Looking at the council GIS viewer it really is dense by the standards of most modern subdivisions. Some of those terraced houses on Buckley Ave are on sections under 200 sqm, which is on the small side even compared to the inner suburbs.

  • Adam W

    I agree, having visited Hobsonville I was very impressed.
    I also like how it uses mixed houses – they are not all the same looking like many new developments.
    I also liked how they started with a cafe & market on Sundays right near the biginning – so they set the theme early and didn’t wait for the free market to do it.

    A vast improvement compreared to Stonefields. I was annoyed recenntly when I think I read somewhere the same people who did Stonefields are doing that golf course land which has become free.
    Shame the council couldn’t get involved like they did at Hobsonville.

  • Adam

    Interesting one for me,

    On one hand, I read this blog, and agree with all of the points above, and think that developments like this are what auckland needs.

    On the other hand, I occasionally visit hobsonville point, to have a look around, and I think its ghastly, and wouldn’t trade my 660m2 section, with 130m2 house in massey, for anything up there, even though they are worth twice as much

    • Max

      Hi Adam – I wonder how much of that is because it looks so “rawly new”? You know – no charm of having lived in yet, landscaping still looking like a landscaping exhibit, all that?

      Give it 10 years, wait for the trees to “grow in”, and little quirks appearing at the houses as people change & build on, and eventually, it will be a very cozy suburb, I think.

      • Adam

        But Max, how much can the trees really ‘grow in’, with 350m2 sections, 150m2 covered in 2 story house, 30m2 of it driveway, 8m2 being clothesline, 12m2 being patio, and narrow streets, I just cant see a densely packed suburb, so far from the city being desirable anytime soon.

        That said, Westgate is going up, the ferry has begun, and the markets and cafe are great, so perhaps some people will desire it, just not me…

  • Harry

    Wow! It looks great. It’s a shame that other new developments in Auckland aren’t like this. The only things that I personally don’t like the look of are the bollards, and the colours used on the primary school.
    I hope that the bus services are improved in this area, because there is the potential to produce some serious patronage with the higher density. Well done to the developers!!!

    • SPT

      They look like they stole those colors from the hideous walls on the motorway – personally I think they work better on a school (although not necessarily my choice). Young kids tend to love bright colours

  • lcmortensen

    Looks great so far.

    FYI, the primary school opened on 4 February this year. The secondary school opens February next year.

  • James Ish

    I am a big fan of Hobsonville point and glad to see it featured on this blog as I think it is one of the most forward thinking suburbs in NZ especially around living and transport.

    The guide below is from the website and provides a lot of detail on the Buckley suburb, including road cross sections, walking distances with 4 min walks and more. It’s pretty beefy at 73mb but well worth the read.
    http://www.hobsonvillepoint.co.nz/downloads/Hobsonville-Point-Buckley-CDP-August-2009.pdf

  • Publius

    I’ve also had a look around too. Someone really should do a blog post on the ~200sqm developments. I was really amazed how big a house could be situated on such a ‘small’ section with plenty of room spare. Yes even room for a yard for the kids and still room for a garden too. You would need to own a mower. This is absolutely not anything like an apartment.
    Amazing what you can achieve with proper thought and design.
    The secret is in having two stories, internal garage, and sharing a wall with your neighbour (ie building right on the boundary in such a way it doesn’t affect your neighbour because they’re built on the same boundary too) and no wasted space with height-in-relation-to-boundary rules.
    This is indeed a new age and I welcome it.

    • James Ish

      I agree. I also think the reason why the houses don’t feel small is down to the urban design and architecture of the sub division. The whole area focuses on reducing car traffic, making driving around the area difficult. There is also a lot of encouragement for foot traffic / cycling with all living areas having access to green space and utilities within 4 minutes of walk anywhere in the subdivision… All deliberately done and proving popular. I also think the ferry link, short distance to the highway and position on the fringe of Auckland make it quite unique, along with the gentle topology.

  • AdG

    I have been involved with the master plan for a while now as well as some of the 200m2 (actually some are down to 175m2) terraced houses ( the ones facing Buckley ave with lane to the rear) would be happy to do a guest post if approved by the powers that be running this blog.

  • Adam J

    Really looks great. Good to see the incorperation of plenty of LID devices, like the rain gardens on the median strips.

    I was driving past yesterday as it happens, and I was told a story that the tornados have really slowed work at the site. Does anybody know more about this?

  • Harvey Specter

    You mention the one lane shared road down to the wharf. There is actually another two lane road that sweeps around the back and I assume will be the main road used by vehicles.

    I assume the share road is really just a service road for current/future businesses etc and that it will predominately be just a pedestrian walkway.

  • Ari

    from what I understand the road behind the back is meant to be closed to the public. the main public access is to be through the shared space 1 lane road.

  • Max

    Say, has anyone who has been there recently checked whether the foreshore walk & cycleway they were planning around the development has been built?

  • ralphjohns

    The coastal walkway / cycleway is just about to be lodged for resource consent.

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