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Mayor Goff announces High Street transformation

Mayor Goff announces High Street transformation

High Street pedestrianisation trials start in October, and the street could be transformed into a world-class pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare by the end of 2022, three years earlier than previously planned.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Planning Committee Chair Councillor Chris Darby made the proposal at a media stand-up on High Street this morning, alongside representatives from the High Street business community.

The trials will be iterative and operate on a “co-design” model where High Street businesses and residents will monitor and provide feedback, enabling the council to test and refine changes to the street to ensure the best possible final design.

Project completion could also be brought forward by three years, pending approval by the Finance and Performance Committee next month.

“I have heard the calls of City Centre Advisory Board members and Aucklanders to just get on with it and I am proposing we accelerate this project by three years. Auckland’s city centre needs to be rebalanced towards people,” says Phil Goff.

“We want to return streets to Aucklanders and create a thriving commercial and cultural area for residents, workers, students and visitors to enjoy, not simply a parking lot.”

Traffic and pedestrian counts reveal there are 14 pedestrians for every one person in a vehicle on High Street.

“Upgrading High Street makes sense—large numbers of pedestrians are squeezed onto narrow footpaths by relatively few cars, reducing enjoyment, safety and air quality. The changes we are making will transform and revitalise this iconic street and create a template for wider improvements across the city centre,” Phil Goff says.

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The trials will run for approximately seven months, starting in October this year. They will begin at the northern end of High Street and progress further up the street over time, allowing input from residents and businesses to be incorporated throughout the trial and into the final design.

In addition to dramatically improving pedestrian access to High Street, ensuring accessibility for service vehicles, emergency services and those with disabilities will be a priority throughout the trial period and in the final design that develops from it.

Councillor Chris Darby says, “The success of our shared spaces has galvanised a growing public desire to hurry up the radical reconceptualising of High St.

“We are changing the way we think about our urban streets, fostering design that recognises the vitality of people as the anchor of city life. Where pedestrians outnumber cars by 1400% as on High St, personal mobility and enjoyment trumps parking and kerbs to bring people out on the street. It’s time to trigger that change.

“We will ask people to tell us their experiences and finalise a plan for the city centre, as well as look at how the concept can be scaled to apply to local centres.”

ENDS

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