Monthly Board Report October 2015

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board activities from 17 August – 30 September 2015 as Deputy Chair, lead for the Community and Transport portfolios, and Chair of the Grants Committee, and with positions on the Ponsonby Business Association Board and Ponsonby Community Centre Committee and Board liaison for the Parnell Community Centre.


Portfolio updates: Transport

Beach Rd Stage 2 opening
Beach Rd Stage 2 opening

Beach Road stage 2

I was delighted to join the celebrations for the opening of Beach Road stage 2 especially as the Board (through our Chair Shale Chambers) played a role in securing the funding for the project to get underway. The opening brought together the Mayor, NZTA regional director, Hon Nikki Kaye, Kaumatua Matt Maihi (on what was also the 175th anniversary of Ngati Whatua’s signing over of land to the Crown, which officially began the process of creating Auckland city), local politicians and the many people from across multiple organisations who are all committed to Auckland being a great place to cycle.

The design adds to the city centre’s growing network of cycleways and

Walkers on the Beach Rd cycleway
Walkers on the Beach Rd cycleway

provides attractive street amenity to the soulless apartment frontages on Beach Road.

Unfortunately there are already concerns about the design of the separated pathways for cycling and walking. The layout and signage is confusing so that both pathways have become “shared” by default putting more vulnerable walkers in conflict with riders.

We hope to see Auckland Transport address these issues as well as improving the connections from Beach Road to Britomart and Fort St (a cycle crossing phase has been requested on the intersection of Customs, Britomart Pl and Beach Rd).

Update on the footpath programme: Making Auckland’s footpaths safer, easier to navigate and more convenient

I have previously reported on the streets we would like to see included in Auckland Transport’s footpath work programme 15/16 including footpaths requiring maintenance.

In August Christopher and I went on a site visit with Auckland Transport’s maintenance team leader to ascertain what works can be leveraged from the renewal budget to deliver local board priorities. Attachment B outlines the actions we logged with Auckland Transport for follow up.  

Ponsonby Rd safety

Following concerns regarding the safety of people on bikes using Ponsonby Rd (highlighted by a painful and concerning account of a “dooring” on the Cycle Action Auckland website) I have provided the following update on what the transport portfolio is doing regarding education, enforcement and short term fixes:

  • For some time now we have been asking AT to work with the Police to enforce the speed limit (frustratingly no sign of this happening on any of our city centre streets)
  • We have requested safety campaigns aimed at drivers – passing rules, driveway rules etc (we have raised concerns about AT’s campaigns aimed at vulnerable road users and the lack of evidence that these campaigns work eg “Pay attention or pay the price” type messages)
  • Ponsonby Rd feeder lane "Fresh Kermit"We advocated for the recent resealing of Ponsonby Rd to be used as an opportunity to include new “greening” for cyclists at the intersections (unfortunately AT have recently confirmed that despite earlier assurances the feeder lanes to new advance stop boxes at the Franklin Rd intersection are not going ahead)
  • We have requested a barnes dance at the intersection with Richmond Rd
  • We have a “Ponsonby Rd pedestrian experience project” underway funded with approx. $500k from the Local board transport capex fund. This is aimed at providing improvements (raised tables) to all the side streets between Franklin Rd and McKelvie St (this project is not directly delivering cycle infrastructure but it will assist with calming the traffic)
  • We’ve supported residential parking zones being rolled out in Freemans Bay and Ponsonby which will release short term parking for visitors and take the pressure off Ponsonby Road as the main parking area
  • We’ve asked for data to be collected on how people are currently travelling to Ponsonby Rd and the % of through traffic v local traffic to assist with future planning
  • Since the latest dooring that CAA alerted us to recently we’ve asked AT to provide data on crashes involving cyclists on Ponsonby Rd and an update on how AT is going to respond with a specific campaign.

Longer term the board has committed to a solution under Outcome 3 of the Ponsonby Plan (“Pedestrian and Cyclist safety- develop Ponsonby Road with various transport options that prioritise the safety of pedestrians and cyclists”)

We are looking to AT to confirm how quickly the investigation of cyclelanes can be investigated given that Ponsonby Road is not currently in AT’s 3 year work programme. Personally I think the best time to start will be after we have effective parking management in place (residential parking zones) and once the connections at either end on K’rd and Great North Road and to Westhaven have been installed.  

Best practice in walking

Jim Walker, the founder of the Walk21 conferences and global expert in walking, gave a lunchtime presentation hosted by the NZ Institute of Architects and Auckland Transport. Jim talked about the importance of walking, promoting the formula for effective investment in walking; showcasing examples of best practice internationally.

Key messages:

  • Walkability the best indicator of a liveable city
  • By far the biggest percentage of trips are under 5km (63%) but most resources are allocated to trips over 30km which are only 7% of all trips
  • Need to make walking visible with data. For example when trips were measured in Sydney’s CBD 92% were found to be walking trips with 50% of each trip made up of waiting time (it would Sales revenues increase after pedestrianisation (in a Munich example up to 40%)
  • People walking to town centres are found to spend more per week than drivers
  • It is safer for everyone in cities where people walk and cycle
  • In the UK it is estimated that for every pound spent on walking 7 pounds are saved in health costs

In making observations about Auckland Jim recommended:

  • making walking as appealing and enjoyable as possible
  • deliver streets that are safer, easier to navigate and more comfortable
  • promote walking as the first choice for every day short trips

This presentation confirmed for me the need for Auckland focused trip data (at the moment most of the data is derived from pedestrian counts and census journey to work data) and more NZ based evidence about the benefits of investing in walking (refer Attachment C for a Grey Lynn example).

High Street parking issues

High St Chris Cherry in the HeraldConsultation on the upgrade Ellen Melville and Pioneer Womens Hall and Freyberg Square (with the proposed removal of the road in front of the hall) has highlighted a number of current High St parking issues that could be addressed before the project goes ahead.

The city centre team, who are project managing the upgrade, have been asked to investigate the following with Auckland Transport:

  1. Removal of the High St exit from the Victoria St carpark
  2. Change to light phases at the High St /Victoria St intersection to speed up access from the Victoria St car park
  3. Re-configuration of the Victoria St car park to better provide for short term parking (ie moving long term parking from the lower levels)
  4. Management of the number of trade vehicles on High St to free up short term on -street car parking  (through permits and encouraging tradies to use the car park)
  5. Promoting Victoria St car park as the “pop in” short term parking for visitors to High St/O’Connell St/Vulcan Lane precinct (ie changing perceptions that it is difficult to access the shopping area)
  6. Undertake a parking survey on High St to confirm current vacancy/occupancy rates and make the data publicly available and for Heart of the City to share with members
  7. Depending on the results of the parking survey discuss with AT the tools available to increase availability and turn over

Portfolio updates: Community

Age – Friendly Cities Forum

I attended the ADCOSS organised Age- Friendly cities forum on 27 August. This was an opportunity to hear from a wider range of speakers about how an age-friendly city benefits people of all ages. A youth perspective was provided by members of the Waitematā Youth Collective.

Key messages for me:

  • We need to be designing and building age and disability friendly housing that can support existing communities not just in isolated suburbs  (David Haigh, Lecturer in social practice at Unitec)
  • We should implement the UK’s “Shopmobility” initiative that can benefit retailers (Vivian Naylor, CCS disability Action)
  • We need to be including dementia-friendly perspectives in our design (Karen Smith, Clinical Research nurse at Auckland University’s Centre for brain research)
  • Connectedness is the most important factor for enhancing well-being. Strong, cohesive communities are the best thing for people’s health and psychological sense of control (Prof. John Raeburn)

Smokefree Auckland 2025  

smokefree outside areas forumThe board has supported the bringing forward of the review of Council’s Smokefree Policy and the earlier implementation of the planned stage 3 including extending smokefree areas to beaches, shared spaces and outside dining.

Following a meeting with Auckland Cancer Society we have also confirmed our commitment to promote our current smokefree events and facilities and ensure phase 1 has been fully implemented (covering  signage and smokefree bus stops).

I also attended the Auckland Cancer society’s smokefree outside areas forum where I heard that there is increasing evidence of the public’s approval to extend smokefree areas to all public places such as beaches and outside dining. There is evidence that smokefree outdoor areas help to limit exposure to smoking and decrease the chances of former smokers relapsing. Outdoor policies also help people quit.

Investigations are underway on whether it is preferable to adopt a regulatory rather than non-regulatory approach (as is currently taken in the smokefree policy). In Ontario there is very effective use of signs and very little enforcement.

We are at a similar point to when indoor venues went smokefree – business ended up having nothing to fear and it was also good for hospitality workers.

Community Grants

The Waitematā Local Board grants committee that I chair considered the applications for round one 2015/16. For the first time we have a “Quick Response Grants” process for applications up to $3000 and Local Grants for applications up to $7500. In total $280,920.46 was requested from round one from our total community grants fund of $100,000. This massive over subscription was partly due to the demise of the Community Group Assistance Fund and Accommodation Support Fund benefitting boards in the old Auckland City Council area. These funds have been distributed between all 21 local boards unfortunately leaving a large funding shortfall for organisations based in the Waitematā area.

Think Big mural project at Richmond Rd School
Think Big mural project at Richmond Rd School

The round one decisions and recommendations of the committee are attached to the agenda.

Photo right: students from Richmond Road School with their ‘Think Big’ project ‘The Colour Project’ certificates presented by member Deborah Yates at the school assembly on behalf of the Board

Further meetings and activities relevant to the community portfolio are detailed below

Workshops and meetings

From 17 August – 30 September 2015 I attended:

  • Local Boards greenways collaborative meeting on 17 August
  • Meeting with Auckland Transport to discuss Grey Lynn transport project presentation
  • Auckland Transports’ public meeting on 17 August to present Grey Lynn transport project proposals
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 18 August including meeting with Auckland Museum representatives
  • Waitematā Youth Collective introductory meeting on 18 August
  • Meeting with Auckland Cancer Society to discuss the progress on the regional Smoke free policy and the upcoming review that is planned for later this year
  • Lunchtime Learning: The housing we’d choose: A study of housing preferences, choices and trade-offs in Auckland.
  • Meeting with GM Ponsonby Business Association 21 August
  • Elected member professional development working group meeting 24 August
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 25 August
  • Newmarket Laneways working group
  • Grey Lynn park pump track presentation
  • Pre-view of the proposed Nelson St Off-ramp Cycleway – amenity lighting on 25 August
  • Community Development portfolio monthly update on 26 August
  • ADCOSS age friendly cities forum at Western Springs Hall on 27 August
  • Meeting to discuss achievements report photos on 27 August
  • Jim Walker – founder of Walk21: International best practice in walking seminar on 28 August
  • Ponsonby Community Centre committee meeting on 31 August
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 1 September
  • Catch up with NBA General manager on 4 September
  • New footpath programme – site visit on 4 September
  • Attended the Seniors Advisory Panel on 7 September
  • Waitematā Local Board business meeting on 8 September
  • Ponsonby Business Association Board meeting on 9 September
  • Auckland Development Committee workshop on 9 September (covering SHAs, City Centre Integration Group update, Downtown Car park  and the Chief Economist housing report)
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 10 September
  • Visit to the Auckland Central Library CAB
  • Meeting with Cowie St residents 14 September
  • Ellen Melville Centre and Freyberg Square consultation drop in
    Ellen Melville Centre and Freyberg Square consultation drop in

    Ellen Melville Centre and Freyberg Square consultation drop- ins on 11 and 14 September (photo right)

  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 15 September
  • Monthly Transport portfolio catch up and site visit to MacKelvie St (part of the Ponsonby Road pedestrian experience funded from the local board capex fund)
  • Meeting with Auckland Transport to discuss Curran St/Sarsfield St intersection proposals
  • Consultation meeting on 17 September for Heart of the City members to discuss Ellen Melville Centre and Freyberg Square proposals
  • Interview with a representative from Hay Group on 18 September (As part of their regular three-yearly job sizing exercise, the Remuneration Authority has commissioned Hay Group to meet with a cross section of elected members from Auckland Council to conduct an assessment)
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 22 September
  • Media and communications meeting
  • Community Development Portfolio meeting on 22 September
  • Waitemata Local Board Grants Committee meetings on 23 and 29 September
  • Smokefree outdoor areas forum on 23 September
  • Inner City Network meeting organised by ADCOSS on 24 September
  • Meeting on 25 September to discuss elected member professional development
  • Ponsonby Community Centre management committee meeting 28 September
  • Waitematā Local Board workshop on 29 September
  • Local Board greenways collaborative meeting on 30 September

Events and functions

From 16 August – 30 September 2015 I attended:

  • Opening of the Tole Reserve playground on 22 August
  • Officiated at the citizenship ceremony at the Town Hall on 24 August
  • Cycle Action Auckland AGM on 27 August
  • Richmond Road School ‘Think Big’ project ‘The Colour Project’ assembly presentation of certificates to the working group on 28 August
  • Ponsonby presents NZ Fashion Festival show at the invitation of PBA on 29 August
  • Heroes at Maidment Theatre at the invitation of ATC
  • Wallace Art Awards at Pah Homestead on 7 September
  • The Events at Q Theatre at the invitation of Silo Theatre Trust on 9 September
  • Grey Lynn Business Association networking drinks
  • Auckland Conversations on 10 September Building Bridges not walls, Gill Hicks, peace advocate
  • Diversity Job Fair 2015 (morning tea for invited guests) at AUT on 12 September
  • Ellen Melville Centre and Freyberg Square open day on Saturday 12 September
  • Circability Trust  afternoon tea on 13 September celebrating one year at Campbell Free Kindergarten
  • Cats the musical at the Civic Theatre at the invitation of Regional Facilities Auckland
  • Aotea Quarter consultation walking tour
    Aotea Quarter consultation walking tour

    Aotea Quarter Framework consultation walk on 17 September (photo right)

  • Opening of Beach Rd cycleway on 18 September
  • International Park(ing) day installations on High and Lorne St on 18 September
  • Suffrage Day celebration at Khartoum Place on 18 September hosted by National Council of Women
  • Ponsonby Market Day on 19 September
  • Newmarket Business Association AGM on 24 September
  • Opening of the Heritage Festival at Pah Homestead on 24 September
  • Screening of the movie Everest at the invitation of Santa Parade Trust
  • Grey Lynn Farmers Market 6th birthday celebrations
  • Festival Italiano opening and lunch in Newmarket at the invitation of Dante Alighieri Society Auckland on Sunday 27 September (photo below: Osborne St open for people to enjoy the festival)

Italian festival 2015