Mission Bay Businesses paying to convert carparks to footpaths

In an environment where we constantly hear about retailers fighting tooth and nail to retain car parking at the expense of pedestrians (I’m especially looking at you High St retailers), it’s refreshing to see the opposite about to occur in Mission Bay.

Mission Bay street upgrade

A stretch of footpath on the beach’s waterfront is being widened to make more space for diners and passers-by. The section runs from Barfoot & Thompson’s offices to the Movenpick ice cream store.

The current footpath is 4 metres wide, and alfresco tables at the cafes along this stretch make it difficult for foot traffic to pass by.

It will be widened and new pavers added. Glass partitions will also be added to separate diners from the traffic.

“Mission Bay is the heartbeat of Orakei with its restaurant precinct but it currently has a sloping footpath with a patchwork of asphalt,” Orakei Local Board member Ken Baguley says.

“A wider, improved footpath will make it much more pleasant for restaurants, their patrons and the pedestrians who use it.”

The project requires the removal of 12 car parks along the block to allow the path to be widened by 2.4 metres.

Urban Partners marketing director Megan Burgess says that visitors will not lose access to parking as there is an under-utilised carpark behind the shopping complex.

“There are 93 pay and display car parks nearby that are only $2 an hour. These are located off Patterson Ave behind the cinema with direct access to Tamaki Drive.”

This is very much a positive step and the local businesses, the local board and AT should be congratulated. This actually isn’t the first time we’ve heard about it with it first surfacing just over two years ago, back then the local board and businesses in support were hoping for a targeted rate to pay for it but the council’s governing body decided not to go ahead with that unless a business improvement district was set up.

Here’s what it can look like now:

Support from the local businesses for removing the carparks doesn’t end there. In another first they’re also helping to pay for the approximately $1 million upgrade.

The footpath project will be Auckland’s first public-private partnership of its kind. Auckland Transport is covering half the bill, with landowners Urban Partners and Barfoot & Thompson chipping in for the rest.

The Orakei Local Board is also contributing $150,000 from its discretional transport fund.

Overall this looks like a good outcome so well done to those involved. Now if only more businesses were so keen to improve the pedestrian realm and not being afraid of losing some carparks for it.

58 comments to Mission Bay Businesses paying to convert carparks to footpaths

  • Early Commuter

    A great move. There is far too much traffic at Mission Bay; they need to find a way (somehow?) to build a better major suburban link inland so people who need to move east-west fast can do so, while the waterfront is slowed down and made more pedestrian friendly. I very seldom like slowing down any sort of transport route whether road or rail, but in this case, it makes sense.

    I’d actually go further; build some sort of bypass and then convert all of Mission Bay waterfront to a shared space, but NOT BEFORE the bypass is built (preferably to 70kmh spec)

  • How about some decent bus lanes and a cycleway first, before planning out high speed bypasses and tram lines?

  • Ben

    Yes, why cant we extend the tourist tram in Wynyard Quarter (or LRT) all the way down to St Heliers/Panmure via Tamaki Drive? The ride itself would be very scenic and would bring more business to these areas. Not to mention reduce bus numbers and with a dedicated tram/lrt lane, quicker for passengers during rush hours.

    • jezza

      The problem with LR on Tamaki Drive is that the catchment is significantly reduced by having the ocean on one side and also the density is pretty low.

    • Tram/LRT track costs $50-$100m per kilometre to add to a street. Wynyard to St Heliers is about 10km. You are looking at half a billion to a billion dollars to replace what is only a mid level bus route.

      It’s not just the ocean on one side, for the first third of the route it’s ocean on both sides, then the next third of the route has ocean on one side and park on the other. You’d be lucky to get three reasonably busy stops on the line (Mission Bay, Kohi, St Heliers). Thats a whole lot of cost for a line that serves three half-stops.

      • buttwizard69420

        It’s a mid-level bus route that would be a hell of a lot more popular if you didn’t sit in the same traffic as for most of the way towards the city and all of the way back. It’s guaranteed to be at least as slow as car, but in reality it is much slower. If there was anywhere the same provisions that other corridors get (Dominion Road, NEX, AMETI etc) then buses would be far more usable, but it isn’t and I’m not sure you can blame people for using their cars instead.

        • Pleasantly surprised to see there are roughly 15 minute headways between Britomart and Mission Bay on weekends on the journey planner – if only there was a ticket product that made it more attractive for families than taking the car…

  • conan gorbey

    This is great, though based on comments we often hear when it is suggested carparking is removed around shops (Grey Lynn shopkeepers I’m looking at you) these businesses will be closed within weeks of this happening.

  • Greg N

    Difference here is that all those shops [except maybe Barfoots] are owned by 1 landlord, who can recoup the costs of this over the longer term, as opposed to a bunch of shopkeepers who will argue with themselves over the relative benefits to their business of each $ they spend.

    [e.g. the on street dining benefits directly those places its right outside. The benefit to the movie theatre above them? not so much].

    Bit mixed in my feelings on this, though as council will part fund (via AT and by OLB) effective “privatisation” of part of the road for exclusive use by diners of those establishments – but would balk at similar or even lower spend for putting separated cycle lanes down the same strip of road.

    Yes peds are better off, but this could have been built anytime by AT/AC if they wanted. [Albeit without the outdoor dining].

    Sure hope those all those businesses are paying a proper rate per-annum for each seat and table in the “public realm” they are monopolising.

    • Early Commuter

      If we’re really lucky, Council will build the footpaths then revoke the street trading licences thus giving us pedestrians a nice broad boulevard without restaurenteurs profiting from public spaces!

      • Or better yet, they could leave the tables so people could chose to also sit down an have an ice cream or a pot of mussels in the sunshine if they wanted to.

        • Early Commuter

          Because my rates should be used to subsidise restaurant costs?


          Private businesses = private land

          • Matthew W

            Are you against on street parking as well – “private vehicles = private land”?

          • Early Commuter

            I am against private vehicles being used for profit-making purposes being parked on private land
            Visiting a mate = fine
            Workmen earning $$ = nope

          • Matthew W

            Thats a bizarre distinction.

          • Nick R

            What subsidy? The restuarants pay rent to the council for that space.

            But even if it weren’t rented, why not? Our rates subsidise parks, sports clubs, cycleways, childrens playgrounds, beaches, campervan sites, arts festivals, comedy shows, christmas parades etc etc, all of which have greater or lesser private business benefit. Why not subsidise outdoor seating for business patrons?

            You seem to be suggesting we only subsidise consumers directly, not subsidise them through service providers?

          • Greg N

            Nick they may pay a rent for the exclusive use of that extra space, but the rent is clearly inadequate for the service provided to them by council.

            We’re not talking a couple of chairs and a table on a manky footpath, we’re talking a gold plated footpath widening, with exclusivity for the patrons of said establishments as the only one who can use it during those business’ opening hours

            At a total income of about $15,000 a year (12 carparks removed at 15m2 each, at a annual rent of about $1275 each is about $15k), its pretty minimal compensation really.

            Council will spend a fair bit of that on the upkeep of the area (both public and private areas, with cleaning of the footpath, and replacing all those smashed/scratched/graffiti covered glass panels).

            Let alone paying off the councils share of the actual original build cost.

            Now if the public could come along and use the tables anytime during the opening hours of the businesses they’re outside, without needing to buy anything from them – then sure why not.
            But it doesn’t work that way. those business will argue that they pay a rental to use the space, ergo its their space which they then “control” and so you have to a customer of their business to use it.

            You can’t pretend this example is a good deal for the public, as its not.
            Other examples may be better value or offer a better outcome. This one doesn’t.

      • Bryan

        Don’t the restaurants pay a rental to the council? Wonder what the council’s payback period will be?

        • conan gorbey

          Yes they do, in this case looks like it would be $85psm, though maybe they get a discount for contributing to the project?

          • Greg N

            A relative pittance for the space they’ll occupy, hell if we treated it as car parking (2.5m2 x6m2 = 15m2), at 85 per m2 per annum thats a rate of $1,275 “per car park space” for a year.

            Divided by 365 days a year, is what? not even $3.50 a day for using a car park sized piece of the road reserve for profit making? Hell they’ll only have to sell 1 more latte/ice cream a day to basically cover that running cost.

            Considering this is prime public real estate,that council fee can’t be covering anywhere near the true annual costs of extending the footpath by 2.4 more metres – even if the landlord is paying not quite half the costs, council and OLB are paying the bulk of it.

            It’d have to be the cheapest footpath extension in NZ if it did – the renders certainly don’t do the finished product justice if its that cheap.

            to be clear I’d prefer the car parks be gone, but I don’t agree with the businesses paying less than a 1 hour car park price a day for monopolising that public space – no matter how much they contribute to the building of it, its clearly not enough rental they’re paying council/AT for the right to use the space.

  • It needs to be combined with no smoking rules for the outdoor dining area or there is a percentage of the population that won’t be able to enjoy sitting outside too, and for poor buggers like me, who can’t stand smoke at all, won’t even be able to walk past.

  • mfwic

    The pictures are certainly much better than what the Council came up with for the jazz festival. It was originally supported by the local businesses, then the Council gave it to a private operator who charged admission and built fences along the footpath to make sure patrons couldnt get out to eat at the local restaurants. Then he attached sacking to the fence just to make sure diners at the local restaurants couldn’t see any of the bands.

  • RHarris

    Great news. Takes it away from looking like a third world country like high street does.

    Still alot of things that can be done to improve the Mission Bay area.

  • BBC

    Can’t say I’m a fan of the glass fencing, if it runs the entire length it seems more like a ploy to stop people crossing mid-block and reducing that all important LOS for cars driving through the area…..

  • Ted F

    I object to the pavement being taken over by restaurants or other business when there is pedestrian congestion. Especially when you are sight impaired and walk with difficulty. There is an area of Newmarket which is particularly bad and no one seems to think that pedestrians need or should walk past.

    • But do you object to car parking being ‘taken over’ for places for people to sit and consume and chat, as that’s what’s proposed here?

      • jezza

        I don’t get people’s concerns with businesses using footpaths for dining etc, as long as they are paying sufficient rent that reflects the benefit they get from it. This seems like a great proposal to me, even if I do have to walk a little further from where I park when I go to the beach.

      • Early Commuter

        I don’t mind car parks being converted into pedestrian spaces, but converting something generally used for public/individual use for the purpose of individual profit seems immoral.

  • thmslcn

    Is there a Shake Shack in Mission Bay?

  • Kiri

    Great news- will there be some bike racks installed around there as well? It’s great to see so many people of all ages on bikes and if they had places to lock their bike up that would encourage them to use the restuarants.

  • Kelvin

    If the high street business has the same view, they would have a booming business long time ago.

    Thinking about a while ago, the Eden terrance shops wish to improve their streets but goes no where.

    There should be a formal council process that allow business/residential to propose improvement to their surrounding and contribute funding. Priority is given based on the level of funding contribution and cost benefit study.

  • Brent Meekan

    This is a GREAT idea. And would be even greater if the current city-bound cycle lane along Tamaki Drive is extended past the shops so that it doesn’t terminate in the back of a parked car!

  • Pippa

    This is a great idea. Would like to see the same thing at St Heliers where people, tables, dogs and buses compete for space on the non seaward side of the road. And cycling West past both these areas is scary because of car doors so that will improve.

  • Damian D

    This will be great for people on bikes .. we won’t need to worry about getting doored for a moments 🙂

  • Jeff T

    Well done Mission Bay. May have to patronise your establishments. Only wish their was a tram to get me there.

    I nearly had my leg taken off in High Street in the weekend by a car coming in to park. She may have hit the accelerator by mistake and came in a bit quick at a hot angle. She was a nice lady and very concerned. The issue was the narrow footpaths on both sides to accomodate carparking on both sides. I was outside DeBretts looking at their weekend brunch specials, next door to a certain retailer. Some old ladies were commenting on my predicament (I have witnesses).

  • Owen Thompson

    Far cheaper to remove furniture from the public path.

  • Brendan Barry-Walsh

    Great idea. Just home from the stroke and stride at Mission Bay

  • A big congratulations to Auckland Transport to deliver a great outcome for improving the Mission Bay area and experience.

    This can be mayhem through the 100ms of dining options, so to have it widened and providing more al fresco dining is great for Aucklanders enjoying the sunshine with some great food and liquid distraction. It is really refreshing to see AT accepting a reduction in parking income to deliver a much better environment for the wider public. It just makes SENSE.

    Would be great to see AT make more progress like this with business associations along Dominion Rd and Mt Eden Rd to provide better bus lanes and PT.

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