This appeared in the May edition of Ponsonby News
Book-ended by café Jafa and a new shopping strip at one end and Ponsonby Central at the other, Richmond Road offers a diverse range of unique neighbourhood experiences as it meanders its way through Grey Lynn.
Along the way there are two schools, three churches, the Buddhist Centre, Community centre, local shops, cool bars, fabulous cafes, boutique retail and of course the variety of the West Lynn shops dominated by the long serving Harvest Wholefoods. Richmond Road hosts the Grey Lynn Farmers Market on Sundays, the Car Boot market and Kraftbomb at the end of every month as well as the Grey Lynn RSC and West Lynn Street party nights.
There are also surprises on route. See if you can spot the “guerilla” flower and herb garden, a shop window art installation, the teddies playing in a large tree and the swing-by community library nestled in a front fence (a clue is the swing out front). Majestic Carlile House sits eerily vacant waiting for a deal to be struck between the church owners and Council so this historic relic can be gracefully restored. I’ve heard many people who work or live along its length say they love Richmond Road for the vibrant atmosphere, the eclectic mix of heritage houses and the easy connections to everything the wider Grey Lynn/Ponsonby area has to offer.
All the activity on Richmond Road , including the recent opening of Farro Fresh, however has also resulted in increased traffic and a diminishing pedestrian experience. After more than four years of raising concerns about the safety of students, Richmond Road School has been successful in Auckland Transport taking action to install a range of traffic calming measures including new signage, markings and raised strips to encourage slower speeds.
These improvements are being undertaken as part of the overall Richmond Road Safety Action Plan which is a Waitemata Local Board initiative. We are working with Auckland Transport to target the shopping areas and schools zones concentrating on pedestrian and cycle safety and traffic calming together with good urban design to provide enhanced overall attractiveness and amenity.
The next priority for action is the West Lynn shopping area to tackle the on- going issues regarding the speed of traffic, illegal parking, and concerns for pedestrian safety. Other priorities include the zone where Countdown, Mitre 10 and Farro Fresh converge and the intersection of Richmond Road and Peel Street (by the Little Grocer ). The Board’s proposed Greenways Route will add a new dimension to Richmond Road by providing a link between Grey Lynn Park and Coxs Bay.
By taking a “complete street” urban design approach and working to make people the priority, Richmond Road has the potential to offer an even greater destination experience and not just a circular route through Grey Lynn