Quay St boulevard 'just nuts'

By Amelia Wade

An artist's impression of plans for Quay St. Photo / Supplied
An artist's impression of plans for Quay St. Photo / Supplied

Anger has erupted over plans to turn Quay St into a pedestrian-friendly boulevard within three years - and the greatest upset has been caused by what critics say was lack of public consultation.

But Waterfront Auckland says it kept the community well informed about the "exciting project" and it "couldn't have done more" consultation.

Waterfront Auckland's plans, revealed in the Herald on Friday, could result in more crossing points, a wider footpath taking in a lane of traffic or two and opening up parts of the red fence to improve to the water's edge.

The first stage - from the Viaduct to Britomart - is due to be finished by 2016.

But critics of the project say the Tamaki Drive Master Plan hasn't been taken into account, the traffic plan is "just nuts" and the local board most negatively affected by the proposal was not consulted.

Tamaki MP Simon O'Connor said he was disappointed by the plan, which he said would take cars off the street in the name of beautification.

"This is a surprising development that does not appear to have been thought out ... It seems to be motived more by ideology than practicality."

Mr O'Connor said Waterfront Auckland was pinning its hopes on the "unfunded, yet to be built rail loop and a new ferry service".

Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer said the suggestion that Quay St was not a busy road outside rush hour was "just pie in the sky".

"This is a critical piece of transport infrastructure that carries over 30,000 cars a day. Taking out lanes and directing more traffic down the likes of Customs St is just nuts."

Mr Brewer said he had been given assurances that the community would be closely consulted before any decisions were made.

Orakei Local Board chairwoman Desley Simpson said Auckland Council's environmental strategy and policy planning manager, Ludo Campbell-Reid, had been to only one of the board's meetings, during which he gave a short presentation on the original Quay St Vision.

"We were not encouraged or asked for any comment on input into these plans. He promised to workshop this with the board which has yet to happen," Ms Simpson said.

She said the plans also didn't take into account the Tamaki Drive master plan, in development since February, which includes safety improvements at the intersection with The Strand.

Waterfront Auckland's general manager of development, Rod Marler, said the Tamaki Drive plan was outside its area of control and influence but it had been working with Ms Simpson and consulting the local board about its plans.

Mr Marler also said there was three months of consultation for the waterfront plan last year and included in that was the Quay St project.

"All the projects that we proposed for the waterfront had wide consultation, on general public bills, with key stake holders. It's been through council, it's been through local boards - there was plenty of opportunity for people to discuss those initiative ... I don't think we could have done too much more, from a waterfront plan perspective."

Mr Marler said there was a roadshow for the plans, to which all the affected parties were invited, and there were also workshops with the council.

Waterfront woes

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- NZ Herald

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