I joked about running for mayor of the new combined Auckland City. My platform is bold and progressive, but I think that’s what we need. Under the current candidates I think we’re going to see more of the same mediocre urban planning and all-pleasing policies.
Here’s what we should do:
- Revitalise the inner city. Close Queen Street to vehicles from Victoria St to the waterfront. Resurrect the Waihorotiu stream as a grassy-banked stream. Like in Aspen, but bigger.
Cruise ship tourists can drop off their shoes at the shoe-minder in the Ferry Building, and walk barefoot on the grass up Queen Street.
- Harmonise the cost of driving with public transport. Primarily through a toll for single-occupant cars using motorways at rush hour. Electronically implemented so that couriers, wheelchair users, and others can be exempt.
Use this income to reduce the cost of public transport, improve cycle lanes, and implement light rail (to airport, and the shore).
- Invite international architects to pitch for a new harbour crossing and (if we need it) a waterfront theatre. Both can be public/private and funded with tolls and ticket sales. Perhaps a waterfront stadium to host a second team in the Aussie football league?
- Aggressively pursue mid-scale international events for the city. Not the Olympics! Ironman, V8 Supercars, golf, an international-scale cycling criterium?
Expensive? Yes. Doable? Probably. Would you rather live in a city that has a crack at doing some truly interesting things, or one that seeks to chug along unchanged? Mustn’t grumble right?