No, you do not have spots in front of your eyes.

And neither have parts of a busy downtown Auckland street turned into what looks like a giant adult-size game of twister - yet.

Large oyster pink-coloured spots have appeared on two sections of Shortland St, which runs off Queen St in the heart of the city.

The spotty-sections are at intersections with high pedestrian use, at the eastern end of O'Connell St and where Shortland St meets High St and Jean Batten Place.


Auckland Design Office general manager Ludo Campbell-Reid said the spots, which he described as the "Shortland St polka dots", are a temporary traffic calming measure installed due to safety concerns raised by the Waitematā Local Board. The Design Office is part of Aucland Council.

Their year-long trial is a first for Auckland following similar international examples and the project budget, which will also include soon painting the spots in a colour "sensitive to the heritage context" of the area, is $25,000.

Traffic still has the right of way, but the attention drivers pay to the unexpected pattern serves to slow everyone down and heighten awareness of other street users, Campbell-Reid said.

The spots were chosen because "they're fun and create an element of surprise", he said.

It was only day two of the trial, but on-site monitoring had shown many vehicles were slowing down or stopping for pedestrians.

"The aim over time is to change the behaviour of vehicles on Shortland St and deliver a more pedestrian prioritised and safe route between High St and Jean Batten Place, and over Shortland St from O'Connell St."

2 May, 2017 12:05pm
4 minutes to read

Overall, the project was about turning traditional traffic engineering approaches "on their head".

"Just because it is simpler, cheaper and more beautiful and fun doesn't mean its intention or impact is any less serious ... Just small reductions in speed and behaviour can be the difference between life and death for some pedestrians."

The long-term aim was to complete the inner city pedestrian laneway circuit.

Pedestrians spoken to today were puzzled by the attention-grabbing addition, but most were in favour.

Computing student Harsimran Singh, 21, described the spots as "kind of beautiful".

"It's a very kind of energetic feeling I'm getting from this road."

Sixty-two-year-old Grier Balderston lives nearby and was also impressed.

"This has brightened the place up, yeah I love it. Thank you whoever did it."

He suggested only one change; paint the spots bright colours, similar to those on body-knotting kids' board game, Twister.

Nearby office worker Melissa Pentecost, 34, said the spots were "visually exciting and interesting", but also had a reason for being.

"My theory is it's a way of getting cars to slow down and notice pedestrians a bit more, because there are a lot of pedestrians in this area ... and there's no lights and no pedestrian crossings."

But not everyone was smitten.

Friends Harishree Kumar and Anita Zahoor described the spots as a waste of money.

For Zahoor, 28, it wasn't a matter of taste.

"It's not that I don't like them, it's that there's so many other things that I think need attention ... it really makes me angry."