Shared spaces in Auckland’s city centre are taking off with real benefits for the public and business alike.
Shared spaces have been introduced throughout central Auckland with impressive results according to a comprehensive evaluation of the Fort Street area which has just been released by Auckland Council.
The evaluation report has revealed that foot traffic has increased by 50 percent during peak hours, vehicle speeds have reduced by more than 25 percent and 75 percent of property owners in the area feel it is valuable being sited near or adjacent to a shared space. Most impressively, hospitality spend in the immediate area has increased by over 400 per cent.
The Mayor is a firm supporter of the shared space concept. "If Auckland is to become a great international city, we have to ensure it has a vibrant, beating heart," says Len Brown.
“With this report – one of the most comprehensive evaluations of a shared space to be undertaken internationally, we now have proof that shared spaces have made the streets safer and more attractive for people and done well, they can deliver significant benefits to local businesses. We will continue to identify opportunities to roll out quality shared spaces to suitable streets in the city centre as well as in Auckland's suburbs and towns”
Terry Gould, co-owner of Phillimore Properties, which refurbished the old Imperial Buildings off Fort Lane, says “The council’s shared space programme for the Fort Street area was a major catalyst in our decision to proceed with the creation of ‘Imperial Lane’ and invest in the upgrade of two former theatres which are now home to Imperial Lane Café, Everybody’s and Roxy restaurants.” According to Mr Gould the increased foot traffic along Fort Lane – a 140% increase according to the report - has also secured the increasing popularity of these new bars and restaurants.
Ludo Campbell-Reid, Auckland Council’s design champion says shared space streets do not have a kerb so there is no distinction between footpath and road.
“This acts as a psychological calming and slowing down device as vehicles need to be more observant and aware of their surroundings. It also makes service deliveries easier and provides us with more opportunity for on-street dining and to create public spaces where people can linger, relax and spend time – just as you should do in the world’s most liveable city,” he says.
This evaluation was undertaken after the Rugby world Cup from November 2011 to July 2012 with data collected by external sources.
More shared spaces are currently being built on Rutland Street and Lorne Street are proposed for Federal Street between Wellesley Street and Victoria Street.
More information about Shared Spaces and a link to the full Fort Street Evaluation Report, which was commissioned by Auckland Transport, can be found on the Auckland council website. More information on planned and current upgrades in the city centre can be found on the City Centre Masterplan section <http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/citycentre>
Additional Key findings include:
· Spending has increased by 65 percent and hospitality spend in the area has increased by over 400 percent
· 91 percent of surveyed users and stakeholders were highly complimentary about the new shared space environment, compared to only 17 percent pre-upgrade
· Vehicle volumes have dropped by over 30 percent.
· Vehicle speeds have reduced by more than 25 percent.
· 75 percent of delivery services found it 'much easier' to make their deliveries