Covering activities from 1 February – 1 March 2014
Portfolio report: Transport
Beach Road – Grafton Gully Connection
At our February Board meeting Auckland Transport reported on the very positive feedback in response to their consultation on the Beach Road separated cycleway that will connect to the Grafton Gully Cycleway currently under construction by NZTA.
The Board confirmed our support for the project however we raised concerns regarding the delay by AT in completing Beach Road to coincide with the opening of Grafton Gully cycleway planned for September 2014 (NZTA’s original completion date was April 2014). AT are approximately 6 months behind NZTA which means cyclists using Grafton Gully will exit Churchill Street on to the potentially very unsafe environment of Beach Road (similar to the location where a cyclist was killed in January).
We therefore requested at our February meeting that Auckland Transport takes all steps necessary to ensure those parts of the Beach Road Cycleway that connects to the Grafton Gully Cycleway is completed by September 2014.
At the same time Auckland Council is meant to be delivering the connection from Grafton Gully to Ian McKinnon Dr on Upper Queen Street. The latest update from the City Centre Transformation team confirmed that the design is not even under way and the budget of $900k has been re-allocated
Having raised concerns about the delays I hope to be able to report next month that Auckland Transport and the City Centre team are taking all steps possible to prioritise safe connections to the Grafton Gully cycleway.
St Lukes interchange – Great North Road widening
In early February NZTA awarded the contract to construct the next stage of Auckland’s Western Ring Route – upgrading the Northwestern Motorway (State Highway 16) between the St Lukes Road and Great North Road interchanges. The $70m project is jointly funded by the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport.
As part of the project AT and NZTA want to widen Great North Road to provide an extra lane turning onto a newly widened St Lukes overbridged to feed a two lane motorway onramp. Last year AT sought the Waitemata Local Board’s consent to remove 6 mature pohutukaka trees on Council land opposite MOTAT on Great North Road to create an additional lane (I reported on the reasons for opposing the widening in September).
The Board declined consent but gave approval for the trees to be trimmed as part of stage one of the project (allowing for the Great North Road lane to be raised to meet the height of the new St Lukes Bridge). The conditions of this approval were confirmed by the Manager – Local and Sports Parks Central (acting under delegated authority) including a request to prioritise cycling and pedestrian improvements as part of the Great North Road corridor management plan that is currently underway. (Refer ATTACHMENT A)
At a meeting on 19 February AT confirmed it is going ahead with seeking a notified resource consent to remove the trees (and will hold off trimming the trees until a decision on the removal has been made). The public will now have a say in whether AT and NZTA have made a case for widening Great North Road at the expense of the trees. I certainly don’t think they have and the proposed design delivers very poor outcomes for PT users, walkers and cyclists.
Some examples of where the Board is pushing for pedestrian priority is at intersections such as Angelsea Street and Ponsonby Road. Auckland Transport is proposing safety improvements with pram ramps and curb extensions however the first draft of the design still prioritises turning traffic. We have asked AT to go back to the drawing board to look at a pedestrian table that will create a continuous walking experience along Ponsonby Road (and is consistent with the feedback we heard on the Ponsonby Road masterplan).
An update on the Ponsonby Road masterplan is attached (ATTACHMENT C)
Monthly transport update
At the Monthly Transport catch up with the Transport portfolio the following issues were discussed:
- Auckland Transport’s hosting of the Cowie Street bridge design public meeting (various issues regarding the facilitation)
- Proposed drinking station design and locations
- Beach Road cycle way update
- Auckland Transport’s Parking strategy (approved by the AT Board in February for consultation)
- Bike parking at events
- Route optimisation for walkers entering the city centre particularly at the Mayoral Drive/Greys Ave intersection
Current issues are reported back monthly by AT on our public agenda including the details of the consultation undertaken with the Transport portfolio on behalf of the Board.
Portfolio Report: Community
Community-led place making champions Group
A group has been set up by Roger Blakely, Chief Planning Office to promote community-led place making through the local boards. The Terms of reference for the group have now been confirmed (ATTACHMENT B). I am chairing one of the teams set up to look at identifying best practice and effective ways of promoting community-led placemaking.
Berms policy and guidelines
In mid-February Auckland Transport confirmed it was reviewing its policy on berms and would be drafting guidelines.
I have asked Auckland Transport to ensure that in drafting the guidelines AT takes into account the place making role of berms/grass verges and the many benefits to the community (not just the road corridor operations view of the issues). For example – litter reduction, storm water management, streetscape amenity values, community development and bio-diversity.
It would be great to see the positives stated up front by AT out of which flow the guidelines on best practice rather than just a list of what not to do. (Photo of my neighbour Char picking flowers from her berm for her wedding)
Other issues relevant to the Community portfolio
A range of meetings were attended during February relevant to the Community portfolio – these are listed below.
Other board activities
Local Board Agreement
In February Council had three overlapping consultation processes underway which put considerable pressure on the community to understand the issues and to respond on time.
Council’s consultation on the draft Annual Plan closed on 24 February. Publicity was very low key this year because there were few new spending proposals or changes from the Long Term Plan. As in previous years I found the Council website difficult to navigate for making a submission on the Annual Plan and sought a number of changes to make it easier to find relevant information.
Submissions on the Unitary Plan closed on 28 February. The role of the Board during the consultation process was to encourage submissions and respond to assist with queries. For example I had an extensive dialogue with the Freemans Bay Residents Association regarding minimum parking requirements and attended a meeting in Herne Bay at short notice regarding the zoning on Jervois Road.
In February the Board kicked off the development of our next local board plan with a series of public meetings (photo from the meeting in Grey Lynn on 1 March). The plan sets the objectives for our local community for the next three years and beyond. This is an opportunity to let the Board know what projects and initiatives we should prioritise. A feedback survey is available on the Council website (due by 31 March) .
A draft plan will go out for formal consultation in June 2014.
Long Term Plan 2015-2025 scene setting workshop
The workshop represented the formal launch of the development of the Long Term Plan 2015-25. The Workshop was an important scene setting day proving insights from experts about future trends and challenges facing Auckland. These insights will inform the debate and discussion that will take place in the course of developing the Long Term Plan. Rod Oram was MC the day with external speakers Gordon Price, Arthur Grimes and Professor Natalie Jackson.
An afternoon session covered a high level ‘stocktake’ across the Auckland Council’s Senior leaders who provided an update on current plans and the challenges and opportunities ahead for their part of the business.
I found the day gave purpose to our role as elected representatives, assisted with an understanding of the Long Term Plan process and provided a value opportunity to discuss and debate the transformation change required in Auckland.
Gordon Price session with Local Boards
Gordon Price, a former six-term Vancouver city councillor, spent a week in Auckland during February. Gordon spoke at a special session for local boards and at the all of council LTP 2015 – 2025 scene setting workshop. Here are some of the key points I took from this presentation which drew on his experience of planning and implementing a liveable city with a focus on “density done well.”
The test is whether you can you raise children – if yes then good enough for everyone else
As the rate of change slows down perception of change increases therefore incremental change is appropriate for established neighbourhoods.
Recipe for urbanity – 5 practical choices:
- Car (there is NO war on the car)
- Car share/taxi
- Transit of all kind
- Mixed use compact cities
- Clean green and safe
- Variety of housing options
- Many transportation choices (where feet replace wheels)
- Well designed public spaces
His key message is to apply it consistently – and the lesson is that this works!
Workshops and meetings
In the period 1 February – 1 March I attended:
- Fortnightly communications update on 3 February
- Waitemata Local Board workshop on 4 February
- Transport portfolio: Informal presentation on the options for a Boulevard on Stanley Street/The Strand
- Meeting organised by the GLBA for Grey Lynn groups to discuss the Unitary Plan
- Arch Hill residents meeting on 10 February regarding progress on taking Bunnings to the Environment Court
- Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 11 February
- Meeting with Chris Davidson, CEO, Parnell Trust on 11 February
- Waitemata Local Board monthly business meeting on 11 February at Parnell
- Meeting to discuss issues with Sea Scout’s Leased Premise – 55 West End Road, Cox’s Bay and update on Basement Theatre car parking on 12 February
- Waitemata Local Board workshop on 13 February
- Intro meeting with the Community Portfolio and Mary Dawson, Chief Executive, Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS Trust)
- Meeting to discuss AT’s Code of Practice on 17 February
- Community Liaison Meeting for SH16 St Lukes to Great North Road hosted by NZTA on 17 February
- Waitemata Local Board workshop on 18 February
- Parks portfolio meeting to discuss way finding
- Waitemata Local Board briefing on Emergency Management with Shane Webb (Civil Defence – Central Zone Manager) on 18 February
- Project briefing on Auckland Transport’s proposal to install a bus turnaround at Coxs Bay
- Meeting with John McDonald – Minister at large in the City Centre
- Meeting of the Sky path project steering group on 19 February
- Meeting on 19 February with Auckland Transport to discuss phase 2 of the St Lukes Interchange Notice of requirement (resource consent to widen Great North Road)
- Meeting with Edward Bennett of the K’rd Business Association to discuss transport projects proposed for the K’rd precinct plan
- Site meeting at Campbell Free Kindergarten with Frances Kelliher, Circability Trust 20 February
- Waitemata Local Board Finance Committee on 20 February
- Public Meeting in Parnell on the Waitemata Local Board Plan 20 February
- Community-led Placemaking Champions Group meeting
- Unitary Plan meeting with Herne Bay residents on 24 February
- Waitemata Local Board workshop on 25 February
- Local Board Members seminar with Gordon Price on 25 February
- Community Development monthly catch-up on 25 February
- Meeting for the Community Liaison group for the Cowie st/Laxon Terrace bridge project hosted by Auckland Transport on 25 February
- LTP 2015-2025 scene setting workshop for all elected representatives on 26 February
- Transport catch up on 27 February
- Meeting to discuss on-going safety issues raised by a resident in Myers Park (meeting brought together NZ police with council safety and community development teams)
- LGNZ Zone 1 meeting on 28 February as the Board’s representative
- Local Board Plan public engagement sessions on 20 February in Parnell and 1 March in Grey Lynn
Events and functions
- Public meeting on Fluoridation public information evening with a presentation by Professor Paul Connett on 4 February 2014 organised by Fluoride Free Auckland
- Cycle Action Associates breakfast on 5 February at the Auckland Art Gallery
- Ciclovia on Quay Street on Saturday 8 February (see ATTACHMENT C – Ciclovia on Quay reclaims Auckland’s streets)
- Dropped by Auckland Transport’s Go by Bike day pit stops at 1 Queen Street and Karanga Plaza on 12 February
- Lantern festival 13 February
- Splore Festival at Tapapakanga Regional Park 14-16 February (see ATTACHMENT C Splore setting the standard for zero waste events)
- Public Session Ideas evening for the K Rd Precinct Plan on 19 February
- Celebration of healthy eating at Gladstone Park Early Childhood Centre at the invitation of Parnell Trust on 21 February
- Presented at the Department of Internal Affairs’ Community-led Development National Leadership Hui 2014 (as a trustee of Grey Lynn 2030)
- Pride Parade on Ponsonby Road on 22 February
- Music in Parks at Grey Lynn Park on 23 February
- Official party at the Citizenship Ceremony at the Town Hall on 24 February
- Three Queens – mini music and theatre festival on Queens Wharf on 24 February.
- Interview with Radio Ponsonby on 26 February
- Social function with the Board and senior management of Regional Facilities Auckland on 26 February at the invitation of RFA
- Frocks on Bikes meet up on 27 February to hand over the coordinating role to a new team (ATTACHMENT C – Thanks Frocks on Bikes – it’s been so much fun)
- Unveiling of ‘Eyelight Lane’ public artwork at Fort Lane 27 February
- Represented Auckland Council at the opening of the Grey Lynn School forest on 28 February (see photo below)
- Opening for Ruben Paterson’s artwork “Andale, Andale” on Newmarket Train Station on 28 February at the invitation of the Newmarket Arts Trust