Press Release – Auckland Transport
New Lynn’s Totara Avenue West is now one of Auckland’s newest shared space streets. Created by Auckland Transport, the shared space transforms Totara Avenue West into a slow-speed zone that creates a more pedestrian-friendly retail area and focal point for New Lynn’s town centre.
The shared space will be complemented by the opening of the new Clark Street extension, which provides a heavy vehicle bypass of Totara Avenue between the Clark/Rankin intersection and Great North Road.
Initiated by the former Waitakere City Council, the new developments are to be officially opened by Auckland Deputy Mayor and Waitakere councillor Penny Hulse on 2 September at 9am. The celebrations continue the following day (Saturday 3 September) with a community festival in the new shared space. Bring the family to enjoy the fun and festivities from 9am to 2pm.
The Totara Ave shared space is one of a number being opened around the city between August 26 and September 2, joining the likes of Fort, Elliott and Lorne Streets in the central city (go to www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/sharedspace for more information).
The shared space design involves merging the footpath and road, by removing kerbs and using a single level of paving across the street, so people and vehicles share the space. This design not only gives pedestrians more room, it also provides more opportunities for people to enjoy outdoor dining, street activities and events which enliven the area.
Auckland Transport chief executive David Warburton says the idea of the shared space is to create a vibrant streetscape where people want to linger and businesses want to invest.
“Shared spaces are deliberately designed to slow down traffic and give the space back to pedestrians,” he says.
“The crucial point of difference is that motorists must give way to pedestrians within that zone, so they must slow down and drive to the conditions. But it is important that pedestrians take care also.”
Dr Warburton says a lot of work has gone into ensuring the shared space is as safe as possible for all users.
“The absence of kerbs and road markings, along with more pedestrian activity and the scattering of street furniture, artworks and vegetation through the space, ensures that drivers instinctively slow down to navigate safely through the space,” he says.
“Careful consideration has also gone into creating a space that is accessible for all the community. Disability groups have had extensive input into the design, which includes accessibility zones that run along the building edges and are framed by tactile paving strips to guide the visually-impaired.”
The Todd Triangle Reserve has been upgraded as part of the shared space development and now features several brick artworks – a nod to New Lynn’s clay heritage – by renowned sculptor Peter Lange. The Gardner Reserve, adjoining the new Clark Street extension, is also being upgraded by Auckland Transport as part of the roading developments.
Unlike the new central city shared spaces, Totara Ave has 30-minute parking spaces available.
The redevelopment of Totara Ave and the construction of the Clark Street extension mark the completion of Stages 2 and 3 of the New Lynn Transit Oriented Development programme. Stage 1 – the New Lynn Transport Interchange and associated road network changes – was completed in September 2010. These projects are part of a wider vision to transform New Lynn into a vibrant regional town centre.
Auckland Transport and Auckland Council are now turning their attention to the redevelopment of the Merchant Quarter area (around McCrae Way) to further re-shape New Lynn into an accessible destination for people to live and work in and visit for entertainment and shopping.
Auckland Council is working in partnership with Infratil to undertake a $35 million redevelopment of the old New Lynn bus station (opposite the New Lynn Transport Interchange). The development will include a new 299 space public car park and a three-level accident and medical centre. Works are programmed to start in October 2011 and be completed by December 2012. Two other council-owned development sites either side of the planned new McCrae Way shared space are also being considered for redevelopment, with concept planning underway.