Today saw the official opening of a long-awaited facelift for one of Queen Street’s busiest stretches, with hopes it will help to revive the ailing city centre.
Converting a car lane into an extended footpath, Auckland Council aims to see more feet on the ground.
The new Waihorotiu path, running from Mayoral Drive to Shortland Street, feels like a promise of things to come. Or is it a threat? Not everyone is convinced.
Two delivery workers said the “upgrade” had made their jobs a nightmare, with opportunistic drivers taking up space in the dwindling supply of loading zones.
While the extra space had impressed some pedestrians, others were sceptical. “I used to live in Auckland for about 44 years,” said one visitor. “I think Queen Street has gone backwards very badly.”
He said the city centre was stuck in a rut. “For those of us that don’t live in Auckland, the reputation of Queen Street isn’t good these days.”
But others celebrated the wider footpath. “I think it’s really nice,” said another visitor. “It looks wonderful.”
For Auckland Council, the $16 million project was a vital step in realising a new vision for the city centre. Head of City Centre Programmes, Jenny Larking, said her intention was to put pedestrians first. “Aucklanders’ histories are written here,” she said.
“People flock over here to celebrate our victories, it’s also the place we come to march and…