News from Grey Lynn and around…

At least now the cards are on the table. AT policy is to remove cars and car parks pretty much wherever they can. Good to push a clear agenda.

But…the problem is we are by default leaving the future shape of business and residential environments to transportation planners and road constructors and disempowering those who live, work and do business in the area.

Transport planners are trained in designing systems that move people around, but don’t have skills in creating places where people can thrive and enjoy life.

Auckland Council has established zoning rules but reneged on any further responsibility for proactive leadership around urban design – no, that should be urban co-design – which is done in collaboration with communities and businesses.

We are seeing this dynamic emerge right now with proposals from Karangahape Road to West Lynn village. AT in their parking strategy proposed to remove all curb side parking, effectively turning roads into people conduits devoid of life and ambience. The impact if this occurs will be massive on local communities and businesses alike. The plans for Great North Road create great corridors for moving people beyond the city but do little for the people of the city.

It’s hard to see how retail can work when people can’t park or staff can't get to work in a timely manner when public transport modes are not linked up.

Our understanding is that Auckland Council has been largely absent the entire Great North Road consultative process. The Waitematā Local Board is taking an interest but don’t seem able to engage the engine of the council to become proactively involved in the streetscape and placemaking of this critical entry corridor for New Zealand’s largest city.

As the Grey Lynn Business Association, we are frustrated. AT presents an ever-revolving parade of coms and PR people who step in to manage the spin and operate through an opaque structure, with appalling responsiveness and unclear values. This is not the best way to form meaningful relationships with key stakeholders like ourselves and the Grey Lynn Residents Association.

We implore Auckland Council to become more involved. The Grey Lynn Residents Association has done some great work proposing how we can move forward balancing the requirements for movement (multi-modal transport) and place (residents and businesses), however Auckland Council has failed entirely to engage with this work.

At present our system is sleepwalking towards concreting in a future for the Grey Lynn/Arch Hill ridge area without proper process. We will regret this for a generation.

So, what are we doing? The business association is launching a campaign called ‘Voices of Grey Lynn’ in which we are encouraging local businesses to speak up about their concerns and we will amplify these via social media. We want to create a transparent community conversation about the future of our businesses and communities in Grey Lynn/Arch Hill – not have narrow discussion with people whose main concerns are busway efficiency.

We want to participate in consultation and have recently requested all of the submissions on the Great North Road consultation under the local government OIA process. It seems inconsistent that we can have widespread community engagement on the one part, yet AT claim submitters overwhelmingly support all of their proposals. This simply doesn’t ring true.

Get in touch, get involved, let us know your view and get on board with having a greater influence on the local places we live and work.

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