Have Your Say on Otahuhu Town Centre Upgrade. Concepts Seem to Fail AT’s Own Safety Standards

Err….

 

From Auckland Transport:

Otahuhu town centre upgrade

The Ōtāhuhu town centre upgrade aims to transform the streets and public open spaces, making changes to roads and connections to provide better infrastructure for walking and cycling.

Consultation status: open until 6 September 2017.


Project status: Investigation
Project zone: South


Gt South Rd Park Ave Intersection
Image: Artist’s impression of the Great South Road and Park Avenue intersection. Source: Auckland Transport

 


Project overview


The Ōtāhuhu area will experience significant growth over the next 30 years and beyond. We want to revitalise and enhance the town centre to make sure it is ready for the changes ahead and provide more transport choices so you can safely and easily get to work, school, your local shops or park.

The upgrade focuses on Ōtāhuhu’s main street along Great South Road from Princes Street to Atkinson Avenue, Station Road, and Mason Avenue, with improvements that will provide better connections between public transport facilities, businesses, key community facilities, and public open spaces.

The upgrade is an Auckland Council project that will be delivered by Auckland Transport (AT).

Key features

  • Shared cycling/walking path along the southern side of Station Road and Mason Avenue.
  • Safety improvements for public transport users, pedestrians, and people on bikes.
  • Enhancements to the street environment for pedestrians and street-based retail.

Benefits

  • Improved connectivity through the centre and to Ōtāhuhu Station.
  • Better walking and cycling connections.
  • A more attractive town centre for businesses, residents, and others.
  • Reflect the area’s rich history and cultural diversity.

Map of the project area

Otahuhu town centre map
Otahuhu town centre map Source: Auckland Transport

Upgrade features

Walking and cycling path

We propose to install a (approximately) 3.5m-wide shared cycling and walking path along the southern side of Station Road and Mason Avenue.

The path will connect the main street on Great South Road, the community facilities on Mason Avenue (including Tōia recreation precinct), Ōtāhuhu bus and train stations, and Ōtāhuhu Primary School on Station Road.

The path will also help accommodate the increase in foot traffic resulting from the construction of Ōtāhuhu Station and the bus stops on Avenue Road.

Road changes

  • Remove the roundabout and install traffic signals at the intersection of Great South Road and Princes Street.
  • Narrow the width of the road to slow traffic speeds.

Safety improvements

  • Build out (extend) kerbs to reduce crossing distances at intersections and pedestrian crossings.
  • Change pedestrian crossing signals to allow more time for people to cross the road.
  • Improve street lighting to help with safety at night.

Improvements for pedestrians and street-based retail

  • Widen the footpath at key locations.
  • Create a consistent and uncluttered footpath surface.
  • Remove pedestrian fencing near intersections.
  • Incorporate new or enhanced public spaces at the intersection of Great South Road with Atkinson Avenue and Park Avenue, Criterion Square, and at the intersection of Great South Road and Princes Street.
  • Use a range of good-quality, durable materials to reduce on-going maintenance and operational costs.
  • Improve street and town centre signage to help visitors find their way around. This will include feature wayfinding signage to highlight mana whenua presence in Ōtāhuhu.

Changes to on-street parking

To make space for the proposed improvements to the town centre, we will need to remove of some on-street parking spaces.

Of the over 900 on-street parking spaces in and around the project area, we propose removing:

  • Approximately 25 parking spaces from Great South Road (25% of the current spaces).
  • Approximately 48 parking spaces from Station Road (50% of the current spaces).
  • Approximately 44 parking spaces from Mason Avenue (65% of the current spaces).

We will take care to minimise parking removal. It is important to note that the town centre benefits from a considerable amount of off-street public parking, which can help to accommodate any additional parking demand.

Planting and changes to street trees

As part of the town centre upgrade, we will plant native species to enhance local character and improve the environment and biodiversity. This will also provide a series of green links around the town centre.

We propose to:

  • Remove 41 fan palms on Great South Road and replace them with 58 native street trees to be planted at regular intervals to provide order to the street environment. The fan palms are very tall and difficult to maintain. In addition, falling palm fronds have put pedestrians at risk and caused damage to cars and buildings
  • Remove the two Cook pine trees, in Criterion Square and at the intersection of Great South Road and Atkinson Avenue, to improve visibility and increase usable public space
  • Relocate or remove up to 10 totara trees on Station Road to accommodate footpath widening on the northern side, and to provide a continuous 3.5m wide shared path on the southern side. A total of 38 new native trees will be planted on Station Road.
  • Plant 20 new native trees on Mason Avenue. No tree removal is planned for this street.

…..

Source: https://at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/otahuhu-town-centre-upgrade/

 

Reaction has been pretty negative so far on the concepts:

 

And

 

Disobeying your own safety standards (parking on corners) seems to be a bit of an own goal. You might as well bin the entire project and start again with this being the case.

Shared Paths inside any Centre whether it be a Town Centre or Metropolitan Centre is a massive NO given the risks of cyclists mingling with high volumes of foot traffic inside that respective Centre. Dedicated and separated cycle lanes (separated from both cars and pedestrians) is the better option especially if quite a bit of parking is being removed anyway.

The former Otahuhu Bus Station is also not part of the scope and it should be as the centre piece of Otahuhu Town Centre’s regeneration.

 

Sorry Auckland Transport, please bin what you have proposed and start over. Maybe next follow your own safety standards as well as stop doing these shared paths that put cyclists and pedestrians at risk in high volume areas. Also include the old Otahuhu Bus Station next time please as the centre piece of a wider renewal of Otahuhu.

 

 

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