Access for everyone: now that sounds good
A city that everyone can access and use equally? What a cracking idea!
Oh Auckland. First it’s a decent crack at getting survivable speeds on their deathly roads. Now they’re proposing Access For Everyone, a “bold” new plan to – wait for it – make their central city usable and valuable to everyone.
Sounds good eh!
But why do we need boldness? Isn’t this the case already?
The short answer is they’ve just as dire a case of “kingdom of the machines syndrome” as Wellington does, but arguably worse because their central city has motorways disgorging and sucking straight into it. Central Auckland has not been good for driving, walking, definitely not biking or scooting, and definitely not getting around with an impairment.
That’s all going to change if the Access For Everyone plan gets on the ground.
At its heart: clawing back space and movement freedom from motor vehicles, and converting that space to things that make a city hum: great places for people to be in and move in, and good space for really efficient transport.
The central idea for pushing back car-dominance is that city centres are for being in, not driving through. So if you were (ablebodied and) determined to bring a car into central AK, you’d be able to drive into one of several zones and out again the same way, but not drive between them.
It’s very interesting and is great food for thought about how Wellington could do Access For Everyone in our way.
- Have a listen to the Auckland Council’s urban design evangelist here
- Inner city business group Heart of the City have a good summary here (but for talking about “drivers” as if they’re a separate species from “pedestrians”, funny)
- Simon Wilson has an excellent piece about it here on the Council’s 2018 voting to go ahead with trials for the plan
- And a more recent piece about the prevarications and bureaucratic schemozzelling (and, no doubt, some legitimate delays thrown in there) frustrating progress
On slowing down for less death and harm: Auckland’s excellent video
Image credits: Banner – Jasmax for Auckland Transport.