Why Do So Many Good Auckland Ideas Get Parked?


Why does everything take so long in Auckland to make happen?

While we observed Wellington seems to fire up ideas and make them happen, our officials prefer to drown in inertia and a sea of reports,  like Thursday’s Great ARC TRansport Plan, which is like the last Great Transport Plan, which now sits dusty on a shelf somewhere , along with all the wasted submissions made to it and decades of such reports along the same lines.


This bus sign is still "being tested"

BROKEN: Took over a month of no action

BROKEN: Call for a report!

As a cheeky example, it’s why I kept reporting the endless sage of how long it took to get Britomart’s escalator to get repaired (left) - over a month. If it takes that long for officials to change a light bulb in Auckland, we shouldn’t expect any great transport improvements for decades. But why?

This week, this city bus sign (right) has been showing the message “this sign is being tested!” How long does that take? I wonder how many officials are involved and how many reports about it have been written so far?

This week, Auckland City announced the Tepid Baths had to close because of major structural problems. The “earliest” it can re-open is 2014 “because of the engineering involved in detailed planning for the redevelopment and the heritage constraints that need to be considered through consenting the works.”  What bollocks. It just gives armies of officials years to much around with a project at ratepayers’ expense.

Now, instead of one supermayor and five smart officials, we’re going to see over 100 councillors as part of the new supercouncil. With all those warring political and ideological factions, we have no chance of anything happening.

Back to this week’s great Wellington debate about free cycles, trams, pedestrian spaces in the city, the best we can hope for is the council’s shared space scheme - unless the new supercouncil comes in and changes it, as is , again, the Auckland way.

But while Elliott St has been approved, it’s staggering to see the slow slow timeline for the next cab off the rank, Fort St. Phase one for construction starts in July 2011, finishing November that year while the whole project doesn’t finish until December 2012. Ridiculous.

Fort St Today: Full of taxi cabs

Fort St Today: Full of taxi cabs

Getting an eventual revamp is the area of Fort Street, Fort Lane, Jean Batten Place, Gore and Commerce streets (between Fort and Customs streets) and Shortland Street (between Queen Street and Jean Batten Place).

This involves wider and better quality footpaths , vegetation and trees, a cleaner more attractive street environment and better lighting and security.

A key to shared spaces is what happens with parking.

With Fort St, it’s planned that buses not be permitted to enter the shared space area, and instead enter via Gore Street.

Taxi parking will be provided in Gore Street and lower Shortland Street. To support the creation of a successful shared space the draft design proposes to remove all private vehicle parking within the shared space areas.

Motorcycle and bicycle parking will be included. The removal of parking will provide greater space for people, outdoor dining and other activities.

The exception will be police parking in the Fort Street west area given the close proximity to downtown police station. Pay and display parking will be retained on Gore and Commerce streets, with carpark bays proposed within the area. Mobility parking on Fort Street is proposed to be relocated to lower Shortland Street.

Fort St of the future| Auckland City Image

Fort St of the future| Auckland City Image

It is proposed to reduce the overall number of private vehicle parking spaces throughout the project area from 71 to 24. Part of the cost may be the artwork the council wants to add including large-scale text artwork by New Zealand artist Wayne Youle being integrated into the paving of the shared spaces in Fort Street.

There will also be a light work by artist David Syensson placed  along the length of Fort Lane and light boxes in the eastern end of Fort Street to create a venue for two dimensional artworks as part of a citywide outdoor art gallery. The Fort Street area was once part of the city’s original foreshore and one idea, still subject to funding, is for a  moving tidal marker – a brightly coloured design feature that would rise and fall in direct response to the tidal changes in the sea below the ground.

The Fort St area has already become a little more pedestrian friendly.
Pedestrian lights at both Queen and Fort and Queen and Shortland have been short phased so that the pedestrian cross buzzes for pedestrians after every car phase. Well done, Auckland City.

The Shared Space upgrade for Fort St is $22.9m.  We must make the city overall a lot more pedestrian-friendly but come on, there’s got to be a better way so some pedestrian improvements can be done quicker?

The new $43m look Queen St at the flash Britomart end

The new $43m look Queen St at the flash Britomart end

Queen St’s recent upgrade cost $43m but  my eyes can’t quite see where that money went. The street looks better, but not $43m better. But then, compared to my meagre bank account, I can never get a concept of what $43m could buy!




  1. Patrick says:

    It’s called beaur.. errr, baurau… errrm.. beura… oh lots of fullas doing stuff.

  2. Commuter says:

    Given the current mix of occupiers - seedy bars, strip club/massage providers, convenience stores and backpacker hostels, the vacant ex-Auckland Star site and the numerous, and inevitable for Auckland, multi-storey car parks, it’s probably a good thing that the Fort Street thing isn’t going ahead soon. I suggest there will need to be a change of use for many of these premises if the project is to succeed.

  3. Jon C says:

    Commuter, you’re right. I think that’s the aim of the council choosing the area but despite council’s earlier attempts to “clean it up” and a few cafes sprouting forth, it still feels rather seedy in places esp around commerce st

  4. M P says:

    The reason things don’t get done in Auckland comes down to one man; John Banks, why? Because he’s tighter than a camels arsehole in a sand storm.

  5. Jeremy Harris says:

    The money is ridiculous, prohibiting buses and trucks should reduce the cost massively… It’s not that bloody difficult; paving stones, a few holes for trees and some wood for chairs, next street, 3/4 of the CBD should be getting this treatment over the next 5 years…

    If you want creativity take a 0 off the budget, if you want creativity take two 0′s off the budget, if you want it done do it now..!

  6. George Darroch says:

    Jeremy, a short stretch of paving stones costs over $7 million, or so I’m told. I still have no idea why.

  7. Jeremy Harris says:

    It’s because they have to be able to withstand 30 ton buses and 44 ton (soon to be 53 ton if Joyce gets his way) trucks… Limit it to small vehicles and goods vehicles…

    Also they will completely rip up the foot paths and streets, just rip up the streets and leave the curbs and fottpaths filling in the street section…

  8. kelsey says:

    when does the fort st project start?


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