First Light on High Street

On February 27, 2012 by Eye on Auckland

High Street as you have never seen it before.

Many visionaries and the enlightened have dreamed about a High Street for people, a place where Auckland’s creative fashionista’s and like-minded can mingle free from the burden of delivery trucks, tradies and narrow pavements. A place where people want to spend their time and their money. A place that is colourful and  exciting. A place where we can display our style and culture to the World.  Now I have been given that opportunity to experience just such a place and I want more. The High Street Guild – made up of a group of retailers, bars, restaurants and hoteliers who work and live in Auckland’s High St district is dedicated to creating initiatives, happenings and stories that continue our unique culture - have done an amazing job by closing off the street to parking, providing deck chairs and bean bags which has made the area more pedestrian friendly and inviting.

Vulcan Lane's red carpet - gateway to High Street.

The launch of NZ Fashion Festival kicked off with the return of Viva Presents ‘First Light’ a unique shopping celebration held in the main hub of fashion and in partnership with Auckland’s BIG Little City. On Friday 24th February – High Street, O’Connell Street and the surrounding lanes unveiled their latest 2012 collections on the same day. This ultimate shopping experience celebrated the eclectic yet stylish spirit of High Street. The district was transformed into a vibrant haven for fashion enthusiasts and treated to food and wine, live music and outdoor trading.  Designers were in-store to meet customers and present key pieces from their new collections, with the whole district staying open late to join in the celebrations.

Feeling Famous - Vulcan Lane's red carpet.

Now all we need is for the retail / hospitality tenants in High Street to see the light and for the the Auckland Council to see the potential of removing on-street parking in the area, widening the pavements, adding colourful art works such as the high heel shoes and greening parts of the street. It will change the area for the better and I am sure that more people will be willing to shop and eat there than use it as a transit route only. I have been campaigning for a better High Street for ages now and you are free to read all about it here:

TO HIGH OR NOT TO HIGH

EYE ON AUCKLAND’S VISION FOR AUCKLAND #1

PUTTING THE HIGH BACK INTO HIGH STREET

Once were delivery vans - now the space is for people, as it should be.

Happy people = Happy retailers = Happy city.

So much better than parked vans.

Freyburg Square Beach.

Fabulous ! We could do with more of these dotted around the Precinct.

A social event in High Street.

By completing simple tasks such as removing on-street parking (which is currently only being used by delivery trucks and tradesmen vans) and widening footpaths, the district will already feel better and attract people back to the area in their droves. There are more than enough car-park buildings in the area for those who are too scared of using public transport. Let’s get this done and show that we are progressive and not some repressed cretins clinging onto the 20th Century, absolutely petrified of the future.

Reclaim the on-street parking for people.

11 Responses to “First Light on High Street”

  • Gutted i missed out on this one, it shows how great urban spaces provide economic benefit to local shops – no suprises that the initiative came from the shop owners. If this was more rigerously recognised by the council and a vision clearly pursued high street could be amazing.

    It can happen, the steps necessary are simple and low budget compared to some of the massive actions being set in the Auckland Plan.
    Now that a few of these road closure experiements have happened and Aucklanders enjoy them it may give more confidence for a pedestrian vision for high st to be pursued…

  • James B

    Please sir. May I have some more.

  • Geoff

    +1 James, this can do amazing things for High Street. I for one am sick of the narrow pavements and by removing the on-street parking we will have wider pavements, street furniture etc.

    High Street Guild have done an amazing job.

  • ToiToi

    Great work High Street Guild. I didn’t know about this and now I wish that I had. High Street needs a major overhaul and your proposal holds a lot of water, as they say, just do it Auckland Council !

  • James B

    I say we just close it off today. So what if there isn’t money to repave it all. It’s still 1000 times better with simply no cars.

  • Simone

    My sentiments exactly. Place bollards (or plant boxes) where those traffic cones are, ottoman style seating (like those in Queen Street) where cars used to park and there you have it. A much improved High Street.

  • Karumba

    This can be a quick fix with not much money being spent. The tenants in the area should ask The Eye to work on a plan for them and then they can approach the Council. High Street is my most favourite street in the city and it deserves better.

  • Matt

    I like what I see, more indeed.

  • Suffrage

    Wow, what a fantastic idea. It is very possible for High Street to be like this permanently. Just be brave and do it :)

  • Bryce

    I think it needs to be a pedestrian area but it still needs to retain access for service vehicles (not as a through road though!)

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