The idea for holding a Ciclovía in Auckland was first proposed over four years ago by Cycle Action Auckland (I was on the committee back then). It was at a time when the concept for “open streets” was becoming popularised overseas following on from the first Ciclovias in Bogota, Columbia where streets are closed for promenading at the weekend.
During the Rugby World Cup Quay street was closed every weekend for party central and people could see how possible it was to reclaim the streets for people. In 2012 the Playing in the Streets event on Queen Street also demonstrated what could be achieved from a temporary road closure. (and on Waiheke they held their own Ciclovia in 2010 in support of keeping traffic off the Esplanade)
Over the last year further momentum has been been building for a Ciclovía as plans get underway for the transformation of Quay Street into a pedestrian Boulevard. A Ciclovía is a logical way to trial the use of the space and to give a glimpse of the future opportunities for our waterfront. The Waitemata Local Board has been championing for an event to happen and was fully supportive of the proposal when it was first suggested by the city centre transformation team at the end of last year.
So it was fantastic to take part in Ciclovía on Quay on Saturday 8 February organised by Auckland Council, Waterfront Auckland and Auckland Transport. I especially enjoyed seeing children take advantage of the wide open space to experience freedom on their bikes and scooters.
As I cycled around the comment I heard the most was “can this happen every weekend”!
Video of Ciclovía on Quay here
In preparation for the Pride Parade on 22 February 2014 Ponsonby Road was closed to traffic from 4pm. This was a fabulous opportunity to experience the freedom of cycling and walking along the strip without any conflict with cars.
Perhaps next time we can take advantage of all the expense and time that goes into the Parade’s traffic management plan with an official Ciclovia beforehand on Ponsonby Road.