Putting the High back into High Street

On April 29, 2011 by Eye on Auckland

High Street must be pedestrianised.

The Auckland Council is currently converting certain downtown streets into shared spaces, which is all fair and well, but cars are still taking advantage of the situation (even in shared spaces such as Darby Street). We want the city council to convert one of our most attractive and under-utilised spaces into a pedestrian only zone. High Street is currently one of the most unattractive places for people to walk and spend time in, the pavements are barely a meter wide in some places and 90% of the street is used by trades-people and for parking.

High Street has the potential to be the most sought after street for people to mingle, shop and play in but as it stands people find it extremely uncomfortable to walk and people don’t want to hang around there. As a result the shops and restaurants are suffering.If you want to see some action, please email Shale Chambers at the Auckland Council: shale.chambers@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz Together we can make a difference.

43 Responses to “Putting the High back into High Street”

  • busfan

    WOW! What a difference!!!!! Why pedestrians on this street have to take their life in their hands just trying to keep to the sidewalk is beyond me. The Auckland Council needs to wake up and make this section of town more live-able and work-able. The car is king in Auckland and no where is this so evident as is on High street. A pretty shopping and eating district that could only currently be described as Elliot Street’s ugly sister.

  • Kettlewatch

    I agree busfan. Great work eyeonauckland! Send that to Len Brown this instant. To date High Street is the parking haven for tradies and the like – none of whom are spending any money in the street. I think they should close it off to the vermin we know as traffic and make this area totally pedestrianised.

  • Shayno Ieradicognou

    Totally for it. Just one of many projects needed for our CBD streets. Here’s My Wishlist.

    -Boulevarding of Nelson and Hobson Streets and remodelling of their freeway interchanges,
    -Pedestrianisation of High, Queen and Quay Streets.
    -Return of the original tram network (or at least something that resembles it).
    -Removal of the Lower Hobson Street Viaduct and the traffic shithole before it where Sturdee Street, Customs and Fanshawe separate. It’s a visual crime.

  • Nicco

    High Street usually has more tradesmen than shoppers. You have to step onto the road to walk when the person in front of you is slow. It’s as synonymous with construction vans as it is with shopping.

    How can the retailers put up with this? Oh wait, they are delusional.


    You should ask Len Brown this question on Facebook. He usually responds.

  • Goody2shoes

    Why has the council not considered this already ? I have had to walk into the road on numerous occasions because the sidewalks are way too small. Shop owners have also told me that it is only tradesmen using the space for parking. It is ridiculous. I have sent my email.

  • Karumba

    Love your ideas Shayno and why oh why is one of our best streets (High Street) being neglected for hovels such as Darby Street ? It would not cost much to block the entire street off up to the exit for the parking garage on the corner of Victoria East Street. Add some flower boxes and Bob’s your Uncle.

    Once money is available then they can tart High Street up even more :) It is Auckland’s fashion District after all.

  • Gotham

    I hate High Street, it feels so claustrophobic. Vulcan Lane is my most favourite area of Auckland, no cars and a wide open space to walk.

    • Shayno Ieradicognou

      Agreed. I have a love of laneways (admittedly have lived+spent a lot of time in Melbourne), and the more for Auckland, the better. The cobbled ones that exist are rather good already, but none of the shit around the Scenes and QuBA precinct.

      Cheers for the kind words Karumba, but they’re technically not my “ideas” per se :D.

      • Nicco

        Roukai Lane in Britomart is quite good aswell. But they have gone out of their way to make it a ‘private’ lane and you feel awkward walking through there sometimes.

        • Gotham

          @ Nicco, Roukai Lane is in my humble opinion a private bar. Why the Council has allowed them to place planters on either end is ridiculous, it blocks the access.

          It is not inviting at all but it could be a great Lane, if only it is was more open to the general public.

        • Hotpixel

          Roukai Lane is nothing more than a corporate take over of a public space. Get rid of the planters and get rid of the bouncers with attitude.

      • Gotham

        Our laneways are far too sterile, we have some fantastic street artists out there, Misery will do wonders for our lanes, why they haven’t asked her for some sort of contribution is beyond me.

        • Hotpixel

          We have no proper laneways per se and any potential we have with Fort Lane is looong gone as cars will still be allowed to use the lane to get to the garages. The only way Aucklanders are going to get genuine charming laneways is to move to Melbourne – our council is just too far behind and cannot seem to make that jump to play catch-up.

          • Nicco

            Fort Lane has a lot of potential. Come July/August, it’ll have atleast 2 restaurants in the Imperial Lane complex linking it to Queen Street.

          • James B

            I walked past here the other day and the door to the Imperial was open. That is a huge space although it doesn’t look like much at the moment.

  • AbelTasman

    I agree with what is said here, High Street should not be a shared space but should be pedestrian only. High Street is very attractive with loads of character buildings, great retail offerings and has a lane feel to it. This could easily become Auckland’s premier street.

    I can only hope that O’Connell Street gets the pedestrian only treatment. Imagine pedestrian lanes from Vulcan to High to O’Connell. It will be the heart of downtown Auckland.

  • Geoff

    What a difference, it is like chalk and cheese :) I have sent my email.

  • The Eye

    I have posted a link to this page on Len Brown’s Facebook page but I have had no response from him as yet. He is a busy man so let’s give him a few days ;)

  • Matt

    I don’t think that you will hear from Len Brown, he is too focused on other matters. Perhaps you could try the local Councillor ?

  • BusFan

    Len Brown is “ignoring” the issue on purpose ;)

  • HotPixel

    I doubt if Mike Lee will be any better but it is worth a shot.

  • JB

    If we could organize to simply get High Street ‘coned off’ for a weekend, the results would surely get local retailers and services behind the cause.

    **Sometimes people lack vision and one must literally give them a glimpse of the potential.**

  • James B

    I’ve just started walking on the street. It feels right somehow and I generally walk faster than the traffic anyway.

  • Karumba

    Me 2. I have often just walked done the middle of the street and it is very liberating. Much better than being squeezed on the pavement. I agree JB, people will love it and the retailers in the area will also see the potential.

  • Gotham

    I should try the same, I am probably too law abiding but most days I just want to push people out of the way. Sandwiched between a parked car and a wall is not a pleasant outing.

  • The Eye

    I have spoken to some retailers in the area and they are very keen on getting pedestrians back into the street. They do realise that cars don’t do the shopping and that High Street is in fact one big loading zone.

    I have been told that there is a business association of High Street but I can’t find any details. If anybody knows how to get hold of them please let me know. Thanks.

  • LucyJH

    Could you leave a space for cyclists on the road? I get fed up with the way urban designers want to cut off the whole CBD to cyclists… Is that really how we are going to achieve a high proportion of active commuters?

    It’s all very well making the CBD pedestrian only when you have a reasonably compact CBD. But in Auckland the CBD is massive and it will only get bigger as we develop the viaduct. Are people really going to want to park their bike on the outskirts and spend half an hour striding from Aotea Square to Queens Wharf? Why can’t we include cycle ways and cycle parking in our pedestrianized areas. Surely the two land uses aren’t THAT incompatible…

    • AbelTasman

      Lucy I think pedestrianised areas automatically includes cyclists. I don’t think there is one anti-cyclist sentiment on this blog.

    • Gotham

      Thought that it will be a given ? Cyclists and pedestrians have always mixed, it is cars that we don’t want ;)

  • The Eye

    @ LucyJH … AbelTasman is correct. It is generally accepted that pedestrian only includes cyclists and this blog in particular is a huge supporter of both. One doesn’t need demarcated areas for cyclists in pedestrian only zones, cyclists weave in and out between pedestrians as they please and contribute the the buzz of the area.

    Cyclists should not be excluded at all and when we talk about pedestrianisation it automatically includes cyclists.

  • The Eye

    I have often walked down the middle of the street. If you are not being pushed in between cars or into a wall, you are trampled by people. It is amazing how much better it is to walk down the centre of the street – it is a completely different feel and perspective. Try it people.

  • Geoff

    It is impossible to leave cyclists out of the equation. I don’t think that anybody here would even consider that, unless the cyclist rides like some maniac through the crowds ;)

  • AbelTasman

    There is an overwhelming amount of support for this. Can I also just say that it is very refreshing to actually read through this blog which is full of optimism – pointing out what is good and not moaning for the sake of moaning. Reading through other blogs, NZ Herald and The Aucklander leaves one feeling drained and full of pessimism. This blog makes me proud to be an Aucklander :)

    • The Eye

      Thanks mate, that is very kind of you. There is way too much negativity in New Zealand. It is safe to say that it is probably the most pessimistic Country that I have lived in but I can also say that people are becoming more proactive and drowning out the nimby culture that is so prevalent here. Fight, fight, fight ;)

  • Patrick

    Besides High Street being pedestrianised (including cyclists ;) ), why is it necessary for cars to access Queen Street when most vehicles either travel East to West or vice versa. If you want to head South, one can access Upper Queen Street much higher up.

    Queen Street should be pedestrianised at certain points and light rail should be installed. Simple as that.

  • little_miss_muffet

    I love cycling around Auckland but High Street is not a good place to cycle. I feel very unsafe there because there isn’t much room and the trucks that stop there don’t look where they are going. Cars don’t need to be there and if the retailers insist that cars are necessary for business then they are very stupid and deserve to struggle.

  • The Eye

    Still no word from Len Brown on this one, would be great to hear from him but still we wait ???

  • TrainHugger

    I have spoken to a couple pf my mates and work colleagues and they all agree, High Street and O’Connell Street need to be pedestrianised pronto !

  • Michael L

    This should have been done years ago. Place a few bollards and there you go, it will be pedestrianised.

  • Norman

    I went for a walk down High Street and there was lots of people but no space to walk comfortably. I decided stuff this and walked down the middle of the street and it was fantastic. I am more convinced than ever that High Street should be pedestrianised yesterday.

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