Auckland’s central population has doubled to 50,000 and it’s time to change the city’s focus.
Shane Jones fumes at ‘Soviet’ Ports of Auckland waterfront carpark. No funds for a waterfront stadium in Auckland Council’s budget.
“We’ve got to turn this city into a city that’s focused on people not cars”, he told Newshub Nation on Saturday.
The changes would see Quay Street turn into a waterfront boulevard with new bus stops and a downtown park by the Ferry Building.
Lower Queen Street outside Britomart will become a civic square – catering to the 50 per cent increase in foot traffic since 2012.
But not everyone is a fan of the focus on pedestrians over vehicles.
“If you want a whole lot of people, who go shopping, to not come to the CBD then make it car-free,” said National Infrastructure Spokesperson Judith Collins.
The biggest changes are being driven by upcoming America’s Cup – which MBIE estimates could boost New Zealand’s economy by more than $600 million.
The changes would see the Viaduct becoming more pedestrian friendly and a new bridge replacing the crossing toward Wynyard Quarter.
In September, the Environment Court approved wharf extensions for America’s Cup village and several bases, to be built in time for the 2021 event.
The industrial buildings that currently occupy Wynyard Quarter would make way for new apartments, while the tank farm on Wynyard Point would be replaced with more housing, office space and parkland.
That parkland would create a green link between the waterfront and Victoria Park, and then on to Albert Park in the City Centre thanks to the transformation of Victoria Street into a Linear Park.
But the green link won’t stop at Albert Park if developer Bill Reid gets his way.
For the past 30 years he has championed the construction of Te Ara Tomo – The Subterranean City, which would open up the old air-raid tunnels under the park, dug to shelter Aucklanders during World War Two.
Two elevator portals at Princes Street and Symonds Street will connect students to AUT and the University of Auckland.
In the other tunnels, there are plans for cafes, wine and cheese boutiques, a museum, and even a glow-worm cave.
Reid says the construction will be privately funded, with users paying a toll to pass through.
The tunnels are not officially recognised by Council planners yet but are expected to be included in the updated City Centre Masterplan.
The tunnels will make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians coming from Parnell to access the City Rail Link, set to be opened by 2024.
The underground rail loop will see the addition of Aotea Station and Karangahape Station and a major upgrade of Mount Eden Station.
The City Rail Link will also transform Britomart from a dead-end to a through station, more than doubling the number of trains able to use the rail network.
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