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.
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.