McCrae Way on the road to becoming a shared space.
The new year is bringing exciting new developments for New Lynn with work starting on two further regeneration projects in mid-January 2012. Auckland Transport is starting work on transforming the tired and under-utilised back street of McCrae Way into a pedestrian-friendly shared space, while work begins on a large, architecturally-designed, commercial development on Totara Avenue, outside the New Lynn transport interchange. The latter is a joint venture between Auckland Council and Infratil Infrastructure Property Ltd that will deliver a 299-space public car parking building and 7000 square metres of commercial and retail space, including a new medical centre. The multi-million dollar building contract has been awarded to Hawkins Construction. The McCrae Way redevelopment will be delivered by contractor Dempsey Wood. Both projects will be completed by the end of 2012. The area, behind the New Lynn War Memorial Library and opposite the new rail and bus interchange, is a key part of New Lynn’s on-going urban regeneration. In the New Lynn Urban Plan, this area falls within the Merchant Quarter precinct, which looks to provide a vibrant and walkable mixed-use environment that attracts both visitors and business investment. McCrae Way, running through the heart of the Merchant Quarter, will become an important shared space street, providing new connections to Great North Road and Totara Avenue and access to the new commercial development and parking building. The slow-speed, pedestrian friendly zone will have design elements similar to the shared space opened in Totara Avenue West in September and will include a new urban Merchant Square.
The newly created space will not only provide new business opportunities in the heart of New Lynn but will provide a safe and attractive environment for New Lynn residents, visitors and workers. It will also be sympathetic to existing heritage buildings. Eventually, McCrae Way will also join Totara Avenue West via a planned McCorquindale Lane (named after former New Lynn Mayor and local business owner, the late Jack McCorquindale), which will be built on land at 24 Totara Avenue. The redevelopment will result in the loss of some parking spaces, but these will be more than made up for by the construction of a new public parking building at 30 Totara Avenue. The existing taxi rank in McCrae Way is to be relocated to new bays on Memorial Drive, closer to the rail station. Access for Police and existing businesses off McCrae Way will be maintained. The new developments build on a number of transformational projects delivered in central New Lynn since September 2010, including the award-winning transport interchange, the newly opened Clark Street extension and Totara Avenue shared space and the redeveloped Todd Triangle and Gardner Reserve. Auckland Transport is also seeking feedback on its plans to upgrade New Lynn’s Great North Road (between Clark Street and Memorial Drive) and Delta Avenue to provide a more pedestrian-friendly town centre environment. The plan allows for wider footpaths, new seating and additional plantings to create a more pleasant environment for walking, shopping and socialising. Work is expected to take place between April and August 2012. These projects are part of a wider vision to transform New Lynn into a vibrant regional town centre. Whau Local Board Chairman Derek Battersby says New Lynn’s redevelopment is “a triumph” for the local community. “The difference these projects are making to New Lynn is remarkable and we are well on our way to being able to cater for the significant population growth projected for this area in the next 50 years,” he says. “We can look forward to living in a modern, vibrant and pedestrian-friendly town centre with strong and consistent design, a mix of living, working and civic spaces and a growing economy.”
Neighbouring Totara Avenue has just been completed and promises to change the feel and look of New Lynn for the better. Reports suggest that pedestrian usage has increased dramatically. McCrea Way will complete the transformation and make the trip from the New Lynn Train Station to Totara Avenue a far more pleasant experience.