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Fort Street’s transformation complete

20 November 2013

Fort Street’s transformation complete

The stage is set for one of Auckland’s most infamous streets to become a vibrant inner-city shopping and dining area.

Fort Street, previously a tired and neglected part of downtown Auckland, has been reclaimed as the city’s largest shared space with a four-year, $20 million Auckland Council and Auckland Transport project, funded through the CBD targeted rate.

Mayor Len Brown says, “Our shared spaces have dramatically and successfully transformed the look and feel of the inner-city, to the benefit of workers, residents, visitors and businesses in the area. They are one of Auckland’s major recent success stories.”

Auckland Council Urban Design Champion Ludo Campbell-Reid says, “Shared spaces are an urban design strategy to make cities pedestrian-friendly. They encourage space sharing by taking away traditional roads to create safe people-friendly space. This in turn boosts private investment and confidence. Their success is based on understanding the psychology of how people behave and make the change from traditional traffic engineering practices.”

Shared spaces are designed to give priority to pedestrians while still allowing access to vehicles. They are proving popular with pedestrians and businesses in areas where they have been already installed such as Elliott, Darby and Lorne Streets.

Research on stages one and two of the Fort Street upgrade has shown a doubling of foot traffic and a 400 per cent rise in hospitality spending. Traffic speeds have also been reduced and visitors report feeling safer walking through the area at night.

Connal Townsend, chair of the CBD Advisory Board, says that inner city targeted rate payers are very proud of the success of the project and hope the Fort Street model can be used to achieve successful urban rejuvenation across Auckland inner-city.

“Aucklanders will remember Fort Street as a run-down part of town - the shared space in Fort Street has completely turned the area around. The decision by the old Auckland City Council to develop shared space in Auckland has been one of the most significant initiatives in recent years in bringing life back to the inner city and has played a huge role in making the CBD safer, more walkable, more intimate and more usable.”

Shortland Management owns several high profile properties in the area. John Courtney of Shortland Management says, "the new shared space creates a people friendly connection between the shopping and leisure areas around Britomart and the business, shopping and student district around Shortland Street, High Street and the universities. All this is thanks to the support of local business, retail community and the work of the contractors and council project team."

Auckland Transport has delivered the shared space project as part of Auckland’s City Centre Master Plan 2012 and the 10-year CBD upgrade programme started in 2004.

Fort Street Area Upgrade – more information
http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/planspoliciesprojects/plansstrategies/ccmp/Pages/fortstreetarea.aspx

CBD targeted rate
The former Auckland City Council adopted a CBD targeted rate in 2004/2005 to fund the development and revitalisation of the city centre (in-line with former Auckland City Council’s CBD Into the Future strategy). The targeted rate is paid for by ratepayers in the city centre area.

ENDS

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