Just over a week ago the new Auckland Development Committee held its first meeting. This committee inherits the work of the former Auckland Plan Committee, which largely was taken up by the work on the Unitary Plan. However the cessation of the main body of that work means this committee can now look a wider range of projects. Responsibilities of the committee include the Unitary Plan, Special Housing Areas, Spatial Plans and City Transformation Projects.
The meeting agenda included a wealth of information with updates of progress on a wide variety of the City Transformation Projects, which cover town centre upgrades, CBD upgrades and legacy greenfield projects like Westgate, Flat Bush and Hobsonville. This post will focus on updates in regard to projects featured in the City Centre Masterplan, as this is the first time we have a comprehensive progress update since the plan was released.
Quay Street Upgrade
As we have highlighted before Quay Street is a real missed opportunity for the city, and having 6 lanes of traffic here is totally over the top.
The Concept Plan should see public consultation in 2014. There was a low quality screenshot included, but it doesn’t really give anything away in regards to the final form of the street.
There is some exciting news though in regards to some low-cost place making exercises, and the Albert Street parklet looks like it was the first of these.
“early initiative trials of concept including Placeman, bike event, temporary street furniture, park-let and safety upgrades.
The update notes $25 million was set aside in the LTP, mostly for 2016/17.
Upper Queen Street Cycleway & Gateway upgrade.
The Upper Queen Street motorway over bridge is currently a very miserable windswept place. It is also well over-engineered for the traffic volume it carries, with 3 lanes in each direction. Strangely it even has parking on the bridge itself. However it will all change in the is project which is linked to the Grafton Gully Cycleway project. This is programmed for construction in 2015/16 at a cost of $1.5 million.
Bledisloe Lane Upgrade
Bledisloe Lane is the covered walkway than runs between Wellesley Street and Aotea Square, and helps build on the lane way network as is opposite Elliot Street. Currently is a rather dark and uninviting thoroughfare.
A concept design has been delivered. The construction should start early 2014, and last 6 months. The total cost will be $3.6 million.
Freyberg Place Upgrade
Freyberg Place currently allows cars through at the northern end which is very strange, and negatively affects the whole space. The render shows that car access will totally disappear which is fantastic, as there is no need for cars to short cut through here at all. Will be built 2014 or 2015 at a cost of $2 million.
Upper Khartoum Place
This is the gateway to Auckland’s fabulous Art Gallery, and is in somewhat of a rundown state. It is currently out to tender, construction should start in 2014. Note that the Women’s Suffrage memorial is being retained as part of this redesign, as this has caused issues with previous upgrade proposals.
O’Connell St Upgrade
Costed at $4 million, construction should commence in early 2014. Initial designs for this upgrade showed a very unambitious upgrade, with only minor changes. However public feedback meant that a shared space appears to be the outcome.
Victoria St Linear Park
Victoria Street is a somewhat uninviting streetscape, and the 4 lanes seem unnecessary considering the also wide Wellesley Street is the next block south. The long term plan is to turn it into a Linear Park to link Albert and Victoria Parks which will provide a high-quality East West Link in the mid-cty area, and that is sorely needed.
Again a concept design for was delivered in October. Construction should start in late 2014 or early 2015, and will be delivered in stages out to 2017. First stage will cost $4.7 million, with total cost of $24 million.
Overall is great to see that a number of exciting projects are likely to progress over the next few years, continuing to improve on the massive gains we have seen in the CBD in recent years.