The transformation of Auckland's High Street into a welcoming destination for pedestrians has been recognised in the national Golden Foot Walking Awards.
Auckland Council was awarded the Placemaking Award in the biannual awards programme run by Living Streets Aotearoa. These awards recognise innovation and best practice in creating walking-friendly communities throughout New Zealand.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the award demonstrates the success of the High Street pilot programme.
“High Street was the first street co-design programme to take place in Auckland city centre. This award is encouraging because it confirms that this approach delivers successful outcomes.
“High Street is a precursor to other work we will be doing around the city centre as part of our Access for Everyone initiative, which is a bold new strategy to reshape the way our city operates and prioritises street space for pedestrians.”
Auckland Council devised and implemented the High Street pilot programme to show how reallocation of parking spaces could deliver wider benefits for everyone. Initial surveys of pedestrian activity on High Street suggested there were 14 times as many people using the street on foot as there were in vehicles. Despite this 68 per cent of space was allocated to vehicles and parking.
The High Street pilot replaced on-street parking with temporary footpath extensions that doubled the width of the street’s narrow footpaths. These were installed over a number of nights to minimise disruption to retailers.
The High Street pilot took place in phases and was complete at the end of May 2020.
Tim Fitzpatrick, City Centre Design Manager at Auckland Council explained the collaborative approach of the project.
“Initially there was a concern that the removal of some parking and general traffic on High Street would not work, so we decided a pilot was the best way to show people how the concept could be successful.
“We collaborated with the High Street community who use the street every day. Framing this project as a collaborative pilot and using structures that are easy to install and remove was a huge success. Cities around the world have used this approach and High Street shows that it can be used successfully in Auckland too.”
The project was delivered by Auckland Council’s Development Programme Office and Auckland Design Office and in close collaboration with Heart of the City.
Further information on Access For Everyone can be found at aucklandccmp.co.nz