Auckland, November 27, 2018
The Auckland Council voted unanimously today to move towards pedestrianising Queen Street and trialling an open streets initiative in the city centre and suburbs.
Mayor Phil Goff said that further pedestrianisation of Queen Street would change Auckland’s main street from a traffic route to a place people can enjoy, and open streets trials would close off limited areas of the city and suburbs from vehicles to enable streets to be used for people and events.
He issued the following Statement:
Place to enjoy
We want Queen Street to be a great place to walk, gather, relax and enjoy. We want it to change from an area with one of the worst levels of vehicle pollution to a place that is pleasant and healthy.
With a resident population of 57,000 people and more public, open space being developed in our city centre, we are taking a bold step towards increasing pedestrian areas on Queen Street and turning it into a destination rather than a through road.
We have to do this. This is a great vision and an absolute necessity.
The nature of our city centre is changing. There are over 118,000 people working in the central city and 70,000 students and teachers. Hotel blocks are soaring bringing increasing numbers of tourists. Light rail and the City Rail Link will increase public transport capacity by 370% and bring thousands more pedestrians into the city centre.
The idea has strong support from Heart of the City, the City Centre Residents Group and the Waitemata Local Board.
The next stage is to communicate with and listen to all of the stakeholders including residents, businesses and hotels to see how best to proceed.
City Centre being transforming
We are transforming Auckland’s city centre. Reconnecting people to our waterfront, our city and each other with more public, open space, places to sit, walk and talk.
Planning Committee chair Chris Darby said, “This is about creating a welcoming place for people who can easily access all that Queen Street has to offer. Imagine a summer in the city, with our streets thriving with people – sitting, talking and interacting, all while small business flourishes.
Air quality affected
We know that Queen Street air quality is massively affected by vehicle emissions. We have an opportunity here to make sure that this space has some of the cleanest air in the world, by changing how the space is used. That is significant.
Auckland is rapidly changing. We must accelerate the change in focus from our city centre, turning it from a ‘drive-through’ to a ‘go-to’ – and sooner, not later,” she said.
Auckland’s Queen Street Image Courtesy: Wikipedia