Time to act.
The is PART 3 of a 3 PART series:
In PART 1 I discussed the issue of illegal parking on Wai-atarua Plaza, at The Victoria Park Markets and at The Victoria Skatepark. In PART 2 I exposed Auckland Council’s poor city planning and illegal parking at Wynyard Quarter, The Viaduct and on Quay Street. In this article I will be focusing on Queen Street and Shared Spaces.
Auckland’s pride and joy, the city’s main drag. Some would agree that it is looking rather frazzled these days and that Britomart is our new Queen Street. I for one still have high hopes and dreams that Queen street will regain it’s former glory. A good start will be to remove the car parks and reclaim them for public use i.e.outdoor dining, florist stalls and newsstands etc. but that will have to wait for a future article.
Queen Street drivers are relatively well behaved except for a certain part of the street, the corner of Mayoral and Queen Streets. Kang Nam Station is a single storey Korean Restaurant which has the luxury of having it’s very own car park. How the Council could allow parking here is another mystery and should be remedied straight away. I can only hope that some day the building will be demolished so that a public connection may be created between Queen Street and the proposed Myer’s Park Square. Remove this car park and you won’t have this problem anymore, I will let the photographs do the talking.
When they work they are fantastic. Fort Street appears to be the most successful of all the shared spaces (except for the Police station on the corner of Jean Batten Place and Fort Street) but it is a completely different story when it comes to Elliott and Lorne Streets. As stated in PART 1 the rules and regulations of the road are not being adhered to and the area is a free car park, both night and day. For one the signage is all wrong. The most important part illustrating the times zones is the smallest part of the sign. I also think that we need to start adding other languages to our signs i.e. Mandarin and/or Cantonese.
Another solution to consider is the placement of deck chairs, flower boxes, maybe more tables and chairs in the areas reserved for car parks after 11am. There are many solutions, all it takes is a brainstorming session and voila ! I don’t blame the vehicle users entirely, I also blame Auckland Transport for being too lenient (shared spaces have been around long enough for people to know how they work) and bad planning.
Different materials have been used for the paving so that vehicle users can see where they should park. Even though it’s a shared space there is still separate areas for vehicles and pedestrians. Not in Elliott Street, the entire street is one huge car park / loading zone. Also, bollards have been smashed into and look awful. Rubbish bins and street furniture regularly get bowled over. How much is it costing us to replace all of this on a regular basis ? All this expense to keep vehicle users happy ?
I stand by my claim that New Zealand isn’t mature enough for European concepts. If Auckland Transport can’t maintain control of shared spaces as things stand now how are they going to keep control of even more planned shared spaces ? Possible solutions are:
1. Create pedestrian only spaces (cyclists included),
2. Widen pavements – have less or no car parks and keep the traffic lanes separate from the pedestrians,
3. Police the shared spaces at all times and tow transgressors,
4. Plan better public spaces with more focus on pedestrians and less on cars
5. Treble the fine charged for illegal parking and use the extra funds to spruce up shared spaces with public art etc.
Please note that all of the following photographs were taken well after 11am.
Not much to say about Lorne Street. The area in front of the library is ugly and soulless. It is another free car park and no reason why it couldn’t have been a fantastic pedestrian only environment (except for the bit where Lorne Street meets with Wellesley Street East). Another lost opportunity only because The Auckland Council didn’t have the guts to say no to vehicles and place people first and foremost. This road is treated much the same way as Elliott Street but here they don’t care about the art work either.
I recently had a chat with Sheinken’s owner about the barriers around his outdoor dining area and asked him if he was willing to remove them. He told me that he would love to but he has been begging the Auckland Council to erect a bollard in front of his cafe because trucks and delivery vans drive up onto the pavement and park at his tables. To date he has had no such luck but he has agreed to remove the barriers from around his tables. I took photographs of this happening but unfortunately can’t find them. I did notice that other drivers do the exact same thing.
I confronted the woman in the picture above and she replied in her thick accent “me do no care” and continued on with her daily business. Further along Lorne Street, at the corner of Lorne and Rutland, a new “shared space ” has been created. Well not officially but these drivers think that it is and so they will treat it as one.
I was going to talk about Beach Road but that topic deserves it’s own article. Parking wardens need to patrol a certain area, they should have bicycles so that they can get from one point to the next quickly when illegal parking has been reported. They should also be aware of the problem areas and patrol those more than just once a day. Parking wardens should work hand-in-hand with the tourist ambassadors i.e. if the tourist ambassadors see illegal parking they should be able to get in touch with the local parking warden, he/she will hop on their bicycle and catch the culprit red-handed.
In Summary, shared spaces are havens for illegal parkers and they get away with it. Many now think that the entire city is a shared space and treat it so. Auckland Council needs to put their money where their mouth is and start saying NO to vehicle users and YES to pedestrians. I would like to see the proof that this is going to be a city for people, a 21st Century city and not some city stuck in the 1950′s. Hot air and lip service isn’t going to cut it. To date I haven’t seen much to prove me wrong. I will be posting a future article about how little space there is for the sole use of pedestrians in this City of Cars – stay tuned.
A link has been emailed to Randhir Karma (Traffic Operations Manager ), Mike Lee, Shale Chambers, Christopher Dempsey, Christine Fletcher, Nazla Carmine, Ludo Campbell-Reid and Len Brown. If there is anybody that can find a solution to this problem, the afore-mentioned people can.