The America’s Cup is going to sharpen up the city’s thinking about the waterfront, right? Like, why are there cars parked on Te Wero Island when there’s a perfectly good council car park building just over the road? Here’s a proposal from architect David Mitchell and pressure group Urban Auckland.
There’s a car park in the centre of the Viaduct Basin, on the pier area known as Te Wero island. It has 50 metered car spaces and anyone can park there. Around the corner in the next city block is the Downtown parking building. On a recent Friday afternoon Te Wero car park was full but the Downtown building had 434 vacant spaces.
I asked a Downtown cleaner whether the building was ever full. “Hardly ever,” she said. “Maybe on a Saturday when people are going to Waiheke.” I went back on a Saturday. There were 515 vacant spaces. Once again, the Viaduct spaces were nearly full, with crowds walking round the vehicles to get over the bridges to North Wharf.
Why do we park cars on such a wonderful site? This land should be a public park for young and old, with hills of grass, real trees growing in the ground (not in pots) and, apart from emergency vehicles, there should be no cars there at all.
This is how it could be.
The Spinoff Auckland is sponsored by Heart of the City, the business association dedicated to the growth of downtown Auckland as a vibrant centre for entertainment, retail, hospitality and business.