Start Small – Then Work to Large
As we know, Manukau is in the pipeline for receiving Te Papa’s Auckland facility after a joint announcement by the Minister of Arts and the Mayor of Auckland. Interestingly enough the harshest of critics towards the facility in Manukau would be the ones who would naturally support – although apparently they prefer Wynyard Quarter.
However, their claims can be easily refuted by either (or all of) one of three counter-claims:
- Perceived inaccessibility at Manukau compared to Wynyard Quarter– when they have no qualms in travelling to malls and beaches from far-flung places in the sprawling city. And travelling cross city should be efficient and seamless once the Congestion Free Network is up and running (also see Point Three in regards to independent tourists who love to explore entire cities – not just the CBD Tourist Trap)
- People seeing South Auckland in a negative light – e.g Auckland’s poor “ghetto.” Umm no. South Auckland is a culturally rich and diverse place with great people. Yes some are less well off than others monetary wise but the South as noted is one cultural melting pot. I also live in South Auckland and have no qualms being here.
- Concentrate everything in the CBD at the detriment of the suburbs. For heavens sake there is more to Auckland that the CBD and as both experience and Geography have taught me, Free Independent Travellers (locals and tourists) travel. So when they travel – they will naturally trundle down to Manukau to explore because that is what FIT’s do – EXPLORE!
I have further commentaries on the positives of Te Papa coming to Manukau in my respective three posts:
- Te Papa Coming to Manukau – Auckland
Just a reminder to readers that the Te Papa North Facility is not just housing Te Papa. It is in fact a joint facility with: Te Papa, Auckland War Memorial Museum, and The Auckland Art Gallery all operating out of the Manukau facility. I also believe there will be storage and research operations carried out at the facility as well.
So with Te Papa North on the way to Manukau this might be a good time to really start looking at restoring the love to the Manukau City Centre area.
Urban Renewal in the Manukau (Super) Metropolitan Centre – One Step at a Time
Those following the Manukau Super Metropolitan Centre concept commentary know that there are active efforts (from my end at least) to bring the Manukau City Centre out from its 1960’s auto-centric past, into a 21st Century people-centric city.
Te Papa North is another cog in the great machine to “restoring the love” (as Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said) to the heart of Southern Auckland and my home (probably why some of the more astute readers can see an emotional attachment from me here).
But no amount of urban renewal in Manukau will work until we get the place flipped over from ‘Car-First’ to ‘People-First.’ By that I mean making the streets people (and cyclist) friendly.
To flip streets over into people friendly shared spaces can be done in small steps on bit at a time. Auckland Transport are already starting with Davis Avenue in making that pro-people (rather than pro-car).
The Auckland Transport Davis Avenue Project
Once Davis Avenue is done my next recommendation would be Ronwood Avenue that runs east-west through the heart of the Manukau City Centre Area.
This gallery shows what I am referring to:
You can see narrow lanes going each way with on-street parking and very wide grass centre medians on Ronwood Avenue. Traffic volumes vary depending what is going on at the two roundabouts at the west end and in the centre of Ronwood Avenue.
Basically what you do is transplant what Auckland Transport has done to Davis Avenue over to the entire length (except for the small piece at the Great South Road end which can stay as is) and drop the speed limit to 30km/h. If you go one step further you could turn the pieces of this upgraded Ronwood Avenue in to Shared Zones like Fort Street in the CBD. One thing though is that depending on the new bus routings from Auckland Transport, Ronwood Avenue might need one or two bus stops to allow buses to exchanges passengers who might not want to go to the upcoming Manukau interchange.
Once Ronwood Avenue is complete with its upgrade my next choice would be Sharkey Street that connects to Ronwood Avenue (and Cavendish Drive). After that then we can look at some of the rat-runner roads like Cavendish Drive and Lambie Drive and get them more transit and people friendly then they are now. After that I think we start hitting some of the existing building sites in the Manukau City Centre area and bring those sites into the 21st Century as pro people not pro car sites.
One small step at a time. While others might have abandoned Manukau for flights of (elitist) fancy such as Wynyard Quarter and dumping literally everything of worth and value in the CBD, small steps are being taken in restoring the jewel in the crown of Southern Auckland – the place its people call “home.”