Auckland Transport has scrapped its plans "to improve safety and accessibility" in the St Heliers shopping village. Or, to put that the way many residents saw it, AT will not remove 40 car parks or add 12 raised pedestrian crossings.
The backdown follows a large and very angry public meeting in April, which AT declined to attend, thus angering the locals all the more.
The decision was announced by Mayor Phil Goff at another public meeting on Wednesday night. AT executive Rodger Murphy, who's in charge of "risk management", was there with him.
AT is not developing a new proposal. Instead, it will set up a "working group" with the business and residents associations, to look at whether any safety issues need addressing. The meeting was pleased to hear it, and moved on to other concerns.
"What about the roadworks on Quay St?" one man asked. "Why is AT deliberately trying to create congestion?" Big applause.
Goff said that wasn't true. The seawall needed repair and that's what they've been doing. Besides, the council can't just build more roads all the time, and because of global warming, nor should it. Congestion, he said, had to be addressed by finding acceptable ways to take some of the cars off the roads. Mostly, that means better public transport.
He added that when the Commercial Bay centre on Quay St west opens, it will bring another 10,000 workers to the area.
"By 2025 we know there will be eight times more pedestrians in that part of town. We need to be rethinking how we're using the streets for the good of everyone."
"Why don't you build a pedestrian underpass?" said the questioner.
Goff explained that most people don't like the idea of putting pedestrians underground. Cue loud scoffing noises.
They asked about bus services. Usage is up overall but some people are upset about changes to their local route.
"We're looking at that right now," said Murphy. "There will be tweaks."
"When!" shouted someone.
"Right now," repeated Murphy. "We're looking at it right now."
Another man said the rail service is "excellent" and the buses are getting better, "I'll give you credit for that".
But, he said, warming to his theme, "What about the bloody roads? Half the problem is these bloody cones! Why don't you deal with the cone problem?"
Some people laughed, some people applauded.
Goff: "You know the cones are to help make the roadworks safe. They're there for a purpose."
"Oh come on," came an exasperated response.
Goff told them the 2018 data on deaths and serious injuries is just in, and the rates are down all over Auckland, except in three areas: Hibiscus and Bays, Waitematā and Ōrākei, which includes St Heliers. Cue more scoffing.
"I'll get you the figures to scrutinise," said Goff. "Why would they make it up?"
It wasn't just the traffic. The big new issue chewing them up in St Heliers is freedom camping.
Around the country this is a real issue. Getting the balance of interests between locals and tourists right is challenging for councils everywhere.
"Freedom campers clog up the roads," said one woman. She wanted them kept to the outskirts of the city.
Goff said he didn't have the power to stop drivers using the roads. "And anyway, I don't think campervans are a problem on city streets."
"Why don't you just ban them outright?" said someone else. As she elaborated, talking about "all these people with different values and so on", it seemed she wasn't talking about freedom campers so much as all foreigners.
Is freedom camping an issue in St Heliers? The fear is real: they have some beautiful parks they don't want to see spoiled.
But is the threat real? After the meeting I asked the local ward councillor, Desley Simpson. She said they've identified some "black spots" in Auckland.
Any of them in St Heliers? "No."
By any measure, St Heliers has it pretty good. They live in a pretty little seaside village and a thriving metropolitan centre: the best of both worlds. They have a shopping centre full of real shops, as well as restaurants and cafes. The bus services are good.
Thanks to the council's world-leading SafeSwim service, they get real-time information on when it's safe to swim at the beach. A beach, by the way, made lovely by the old Auckland City Council's programme to resand inner-city beaches, which began in 2006. St Heliers was the first suburb to get the new sand. And their property prices are high.
So why do St Heliers locals complain so much? Sometimes, it seems we hear more about what's going wrong in their suburb than everyone else's put together.
Why, especially, are they so intent on preserving the worst feature of the place? That shopping village is utterly clogged up with cars.
You can park everywhere. Nothing's pedestrianised, there's no sense that the streets might be public spaces, that we might be better off if we didn't design everything primarily for the benefit of motor vehicles.
The city forefathers planted many trees in St Heliers, thinking of a future they knew they would not see. Successive councils improved the beach and added to the splendour. But the locals now, the vocal ones, seem to me not to have grasped that it's their turn to pay something forward.
St Heliers has, relatively, a high proportion of elderly residents. Is there a way their village might be configured to make it nicer and safer for them to be in? Of course there is.
But they don't want it, and whatever I think, or AT thinks, it's their call. They live there.
I've got some advice for AT about St Heliers. Forget about them. Don't waste another cent of our rates on that suburb. They don't want to be helped, so don't.
Take your good ideas where they're wanted. How about Henderson?
Out west, just one night earlier, the council's "place-making" agency Panuku held a public meeting to discuss how to enhance the area. The meeting was at Whoa! Studios, an extraordinary precinct of adventure playgrounds, film production companies, a theatre and a smart family restaurant.
Panuku has big plans for Henderson, and the parklands and twin streams around which the town centre is built have lots of potential. There's a busy creative community and many environmental initiatives.
But there's also an absurd maze of roads with too much traffic, too many derelict shops, too many people with limited economic prospects and hardly any street trees. Henderson is poor and rundown. Getting businesses to open is hard.
And yet the atmosphere in the room crackled with optimism. Panuku is wired into the community with a can-do attitude. There's help for start-ups, all sorts of plans. And there's construction work, especially apartment blocks and retirement homes, including a big Waipareira Trust project.
Waipareira does a lot in Henderson: there's an outfit with deep community engagement.
TV presenter Te Radar, a Henderson local, was at the meeting. He said afterwards he has a slogan he wants them to adopt. The Old and the Bold.
Because, yes, just as in St Heliers, the local population is older than the city average. But that's where the similarity ends.