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.

Schematic by MR Cagney for Auckland Council / Auckland Transport (link here for a zoomable version )

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.

One comment on “Access for everyone: now that sounds good”

  • Thomas says:

    Access for everyone. This sounds great and should be something all city’s should be providing. Unfortunately, often access for everyone, doesn’t always include disable or older people. We too want to get out and about, but often footpaths and public transport are not always that accessible/useable by everyone!!

    Auckland has done some great work to improve accessibility, but there is still loads to do. In my travels around the country, I can’t say the same for other locations.

    Bus stops in Wellington are atrocious. Just try catching a bus if you’re in a wheelchair or are blind.

    So if councils are really keen on creating access for everyone, then please include us and don’t see accessibility as an add on or an additional cost that can be removed due to budget blowouts.

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