Putting the ‘Great’ into Great North Road. A new community-led vision sees Great North Road becoming a great north boulevard of trees.
Great North Road between Ponsonby Road and Grey Lynn village with its glorious ridge-top location and arterial access from the west is ripe for intensification. The potential for form and scale change is massive, as is its growth as a major arterial route to and from the west.
The Great North Road precinct has the potential to become a boulevard of international significance with a thriving streetscape that is safe for both pedestrians and cyclists contiguous with the adjoining heritage communities of both Arch Hill and Grey Lynn.
The genesis of the community-led vision arose out of a well-attended public meeting in 2014 involving various community groups and Auckland Council planners following the Bunnings consent and planning debacle and the realisation that there was no overarching vision or plan that might influence those pulling the levers of a perceived ad-hoc process.
Observing that precinct plans for Karangahape Road, Ponsonby Road, Newton and other areas were in train or enacted yet nothing was in place for Great North Road, the opportunity for a truly visionary plan was going begging. Hence the Grey Lynn Residents Association (GLRA) applied for funding from the Waitemata Local Board and received $10,000 to complete the project.
There was more than a year of consultation with stakeholder organisations and individuals, including architects, designers and developers, local business, AT and Council design staff and elected representatives. Concurrently, a community-centric survey which aimed to gauge the thoughts and aspirations for Great North Road from the adjacent residents, users and wider community was also conducted.
Because the community-led plan is a local initiative, it gave our community the opportunity for a greater degree of input than usual. It also added pressure for GLRA to develop a vision that is constructive, measured and plausible so that developers, designers and planners will be inclined to be more mindful of the impact and enhancements that their inputs could have on the Great North Road precinct in its entirety.
David Batten and Brandon Wilcox, the project leads from Grey Lynn Residents Association, say they are well aware they have no status to force change in attitude, statute or plan other than through influence. They know that the usual outcome of similar initiatives is relegation to a rarely-opened bottom drawer. Batten and Wilcox will therefore be embarking on an extensive follow-up process with all stakeholders.
In a remarkable timing co-incidence, AT’s Great North Road - bus, cycling and safety improvements consultation process is soon to open. Batten and Wilcox hope their recently completed community-led vision will influence change and a greater sense of vision than just AT’s planned removal of parking and addition of cycle lanes, bus stops and pedestrian crossings.
There are links to the download file on both GLRA and Arch Hill Matters Facebook pages and a hard copy can be viewed at the Grey Lynn library.
The Community-led Vision for Great North Road document can be downloaded from the GLRA website at www.greylynnresidents.org.nz.
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