Shared Space Fiasco

On January 10, 2012 by Eye on Auckland

Auckland Transport Missing in Action

I can’t help but notice that some rules only need apply to a select few and it is becoming more evident, especially in the shared space zones. There is no question that the introduction of shared spaces in downtown Auckland have improved most areas (albeit on the dull and unimaginative side) but one has to ask if Aucklander’s are mature enough to respect them.  On the afternoon of Friday the 6th of January 2012, I was sitting in Elliott Street watching the passing parade and admiring the persistence of parking wardens running up and down the street asking people to please remove their parked cars – this must have happened every 10 minutes. Some of these imbeciles even had the audacity to argue with the wardens. One women threw her toys out of her cot, shifted her car into gear, put her foot down and slammed into a bollard – not that it made any difference to that particular bollard, all three bollards in the area have been smashed into. The car suffered more damage (clapping hands in glee) but the bollard won’t be able to stand another hit. The aftermath was caught on camera (and yes, I do have a photo of her number plate):


As I have stated before, all the bollards are leaning to some degree and clinging onto the pavement for dear life. One can only imagine how much it costs the city to fix and replace them. An idea would be to place Pou or some form of public art there instead – tall and colourful (we all know that the street needs some colour and drivers will be able to see them clearly). Another unfortunate victim of overzealous car drivers is the public seating which has also been smashed into. I partly blame the car drivers and I also blame the design of the seats which are flimsy at best. An idea would be to place flower boxes next to the benches alongside the parking spaces, strong enough to inflict damage on the cars but not on the seats (let’s face it nobody feels sorry for a driver who can’t care less about his/her environment – let them feel it where it hurts most i.e. in their pockets). Flower boxes will only benefit the area, adding colour to a grey and dull environment.

Damaged Bollard in Elliott Street

Damaged public seating in Elliott Street

Pou instead of Bollards ?

Fast forward to the afternoon (1:35pm) of Sunday the 8th of January 2012. I was on my way to The Stables in Elliott Street and this is what greeted me – a row of parked cars from the top end of Elliott Street all the way down to the lower end of the street – a case of monkey see, monkey do ? No parking wardens in sight – zero ! The rules are quite clear “no parking or deliveries after 11am, 7 days a week” but these village idiots think otherwise. If they are allowed to do as they please and ignore the rules, then surely we can steal, murder and vandalize as we feel fit. Rules are rules and Auckland Transport is there to enforce them – no excuses. No wonder we still have monkeys parking where ever they please and when ever they feel like it. A tow truck should be parked close by and they can keep an eye on the situation if Auckland Transport doesn’t have the man-power. Tow these buggers and let them learn the hard way. Auckland needs to grow up, Aucklander’s need to be held responsible for their city and Auckland Transport needs to grow a pair of balls.

Elliott Street Fiasco

Elliott Street fiasco

It might not be known by many but Auckland’s shared spaces were inspired by New Road in Brighton. Even though I think that our spaces are quite dull, Auckland’s shared spaces are way better than New Road but the New Road users are far more mature and respect the rules – spot the difference in these photographs of New Road (no cars racing down the street, no parked cars, more bicycle parking and more cafe tables/chairs encroaching on driving space (which probably makes it more uncomfortable for cars to use the area):

New Road, Brighton


13 Responses to “Shared Space Fiasco”

  • James B

    These spaces work well when policed, but aren’t working with it. This kind of defeats the point of shared spaces which is to be unregulated zones where common courtesy reigns. I don’t understand the mindset of people who park here. I’m so paranoid about parking in the wrong zone I tend to be overly cautious.

    On a slightly related note. The stocks of sub-half hour parking seem to be very low in Auckland. It can be annoying having to pay for a full hour just to pick up a quick purchase or drop something in. Maybe the council should have half a hour free in their parking buildings before charging.

  • Bbc

    @James – catch a bus or walk/cycle – don’t expect ratepayers to subsidise your parking. That half hour free will have to be paid for somehow either through higher rates or cuts to council projects.

    • James B

      For the record I take the bus in to work everyday. I also often take the bus into town on weekends to go to the pub etc. However there have been occasions when I have been passing through town and needed to stop for a task that takes less then 10 minutes. An example of this was stopping to get a last minute Christmas gift from Soul on my way to my parent’s place on the Shore. I drove down to the Viaduct and had to leave my car in a one hour minimum spot. I then had to choose between paying the 8 dollars or risking getting caught. If there was free parking for sub half hour stays or even the ability to pay for a smaller block than the minimum of one hour I wouldn’t have had to risk a ticket.

    • Bryce

      Ahh…the old ‘catch a bus’ phrase. Well in Te Atatu, off peak and weekends, it takes 45 minutes to get a bus one way to town (1.5 hrs return). The trip in the car is 15 minutes (.5hr return. Once those two trip figures are much closer I will consider the bus to do those little weekend tasks.

  • Mollybrown

    Bravo, thanks for taking the initiative and exposing Auckland Transport’s lack of commitment. I was walking through Elliott Street last week and it is already looking as of it is 5 years old. Lorne Street, in front of the library is very sad. What happened to the Art Boards that they show on the render ?

  • Gordon

    One would think that the situation was improving but it looks as if things are deteriorating. I agree with towing these cars. It is quite clear that you can’t park there after 11am and they are breaking the rules.

  • Toitoi

    Tow them once and for all. Auckland Transport should stop dilly-dallying around and get serious.

  • Andrew

    I call AT whenever I walk through here and see parked cars. (Unfortunately that hasn’t been much over the past month due to work commitments in places I must take the car, nowhere near the CBD). Everyone should keep calling them whenever they see cars parked here to report them to keep the pressure on. 09 355 3553.

  • little_miss_muffet

    A very important point missed is – not only the cars parking illegally, but they are also blocking entrance and exits to Strand Arcade, Smith and Caugheys and Mid City – you can even see in one of the pictures above how people have emerged through the cars to Elliot Street.

    All in all the feeling I get is one of where Auckland Council have ‘given’ us a shared spaced but really couldn’t be bothered beyond that – a bit of window dressing and that’s that – leaving me as a pedestrian feeling like a second class citizen in my own shared space.

  • Bbc

    To be fair Auckland Transport are often there moving cars along and maintaining a presence.

    • MollyBrown

      That is correct but they should be there everyday for as long as it takes, this is the only way that people will learn to respect the rules and regulations.

      • rtc

        I wish they could be all the time, but there is more than a single street in Auckland that needs to be patrolled and AT don’t have unlimited staff. During the peak a lot of them have to go around making sure cars aren’t parked in the bus lanes. I totally agree it’s ridiculous that all those cars are there but ringing the council and letting them know when you observe it such that they can send someone down to ticket them all is the best thing we can do, and from my experience they’re usually pretty good at responding to calls about cars parked where they shouldn’t be.

  • Feijoa

    It would be pretty easy on Elliot St — put up CCTV and issue tickets based on that. You’d need less staff and you could easily operated it on 24/7 basis. There would be less illegal parking and tickets for drivers because people would quickly learn it was always being patrolled and not chance it.

    They have them in places in London, and if it stops unlicensed mini cab drivers from even pulling up to drop you off it must work.

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