Auckland City Plan To Save Our Blighted Streets


Official signs have added to Auckland’s ugliness.

There’s a myriad of words screaming at you from all directions, adding to the stress of inner-city noise, aggressive traffic behaviour and pace.

Signs saying the same thing are repeated ridiculously close to each other, like only two car spaces apart - such as here in Lorne St:

You head for a bus and there’s information pouring down the poles:

When one sign gets erected as if some council staffer needs something more to do, that sign keeps getting add-ons, as if anyone could ever take in all the disclaimers and terms and conditions:

It’s all just clutter.

It’s very much part of Auckland’s maze as pedestrians try to manoeuvre a pathway without bumping into things.

I love the UK scheme called Save Our Streets that tries to remove some of the unnecessary stuff.

Its site starts off with a statement that so applies here:
“The towns and villages of England are being blighted by superfluous signs, haphazard paving and obstructed footways. As a result our streets are losing their local distinctiveness and character.”

Blighted is such a great word. It means disease, destruction, ruin, frustration, wither, decay, eteriorated; dilapidation.

On that UK site, people are invited to do a street audit and send the results to their local councillor.  It would fun to do one for streets you use here and send it through to your local councillor.
But the good news is that Auckland City says it’s time to do something about our situation.
Auckland City Council City Development Committee’s decision to “remove excessive signage, poles and other unnecessary street equipment,” will, according to Deputy Mayor David Hay,  improve pedestrian safety, and create more open, attractive and functional public spaces.
Businesses have never been happy with crackdowns on sandwich boards and signs but this is being sold to them as getting more people in the shop door as it’s giving businesses a pedestrian friendly path to their store. I doubt they will buy it but it’s time pedestrians did get a much better deal.

The council also thinks it makes financial sense as it will cut down on upkeep of such signs and poles.

When this happens from later this year, we will be in debt to committee chairman Aaron Bhatnagar who said the council needed to lead by example. On his Auckland blog,  he was direct:

“The council has a big role to play in reducing street clutter, as we unintentionally create a lot of it. It’s expensive, it’s ugly and it’s excessive. People aren’t stupid. They shouldn’t need several signs telling them not to park over someone’s driveway. And we can surely do better than this. I’ll be putting pressure on the officers to come up with something better than this unwanted sign forest on footpaths.

So a signage review of the city is now under way and Kingsland town centre will be used as a trial parking zone, which uses less parking time signs to cover a wide area of street.
That will be a challenge. Look how many parking signs saying the same thing it takes to park a courier van:

And come out from the train station and try to head up the road to choose from the pubs and restaurants without being forced into the kerb and traffic. If someone’s walking towards you, there is no room so you are forced into the traffic.

Kingsland’s New North Rd village area has some lovely old buildings, including the 150 year old Pages Grain and Forage Store, which is now part of the Kingslander pub.The Deve restaurant in that block has just changed to a grill called Pages, as seen above.

But it’s hard to notice any of the historic character of the place when your vision is blocked out with loud visual clutter. Visual noise you’re trying to tune out.

This development , along with the shared space projects, will start to see a more open Auckland. Just a pity we can’t do anything in retrospect about those terrible apartment buildings that block the skyline (especially Scene One and Two at the bottom of Anzac Avenue. Some inner-city high rise apartments in the inner city are already looking rather slummy..

4pm Albert St

5pm Customs St

And we do need to remove these sad folk from the inner city and give them a better home, away from tourists’ gaze.




  1. rtc says:

    4pm Albert looks like someone just taking a nap ;-)

  2. James Pole says:

    Bus Lane signs, just remove the time it is in effect etc. I’ve noticed on many roads with bus lanes, everyone drives in the main lane, despite the fact they’re allowed to use the bus lane off-peak!

  3. Su Yin Khoo says:

    I don’t think it’s very nice of Page’s to block the footpath with their sign either, seeing as the tables and chairs are already taking up half of it …

  4. Jon R says:

    Actually both 4pm and 5pm pix are of Aucklanders needing a break after all being confronted with all the signs!!!!!

  5. Anthony says:

    It feels so clustraphobic when i was in Auckland in 2004. that was on of the few things I didn’t like about the big city.

  6. James Pole says:

    @Anthony: I don’t notice them at all nowdays. Been living here 23 years — probably too long! :)

  7. Matt L says:

    Its about time we started treating people like adults that can make their own decisions. I imagine most parking ones went up as a result of people arguing about parking tickets with the excuse “But I couldn’t see the sign” It was just easier to put up another sign than keep arguing with people.

    Also agree, Pages should get outdoor seating or a sign, not both as they are blocking most of footpath.


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