Len Brown: “the city needs more investment”

BY ANUJA NADKARNI

23/03/15

Mayor Len Brown is promising more cycle lanes, rail links and busses to accommodate Auckland’s growing population.

Auckland’s population is growing by “1.5 to 2 per cent a year,” says Mr Brown.

Mr Brown says the government has not invested enough money into transport for the super city.

“We’ve always under invested in Auckland… and I’m saying now is the time to actually stop this nonsense.

“The more we invest, the more people get on it.”

To accommodate the growing city, the mayor says the council is looking to support the $30 million investment by the Government to reach 1000 cycle lanes within the city.

Mr Brown says the only way to create greater investment is through road tax or regional petrol tax.

60 per cent of Aucklanders are willing to pay the $2 motorway toll in light of better transport for the super city so far.

Having the motorway toll will not only raise money but also force people to consider other options of transport, Mr Brown says.

“Whether they decide to go on the motorway or whether they get off, get on a bike or walk, or get on public transport. It helps de-congest.

The mayor says the investments have lead to a million extra city rail trips a year for 80 per cent of the city’s rail networks.

Mr Brown promises that once the city’s rail link finishes, which he hopes is within four years, there will be up to 35 million trips per year.

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Final News Story – Totara Avenue

Ethnic flavours spice up street’s transformation

Totara Avenue in New Lynn, which once served as a path to brick kiln workers in the early days of Auckland and then a thoroughfare for traffic going to the city’s west, is now being transformed into a hub of multicultural activity.

The street has witnessed major developments over the past decades, including the country’s first modern shopping centre, Lynn Mall in the 1960s, to the recently developed multimodal transport station.

New Lynn is culturally diverse and celebrating this is the night market, one of the many initiatives, supported by the Auckland City Council and Whau Local Board.

This free-entry event has 25 hand picked food stalls and takes place on Thursday evenings from 5.30pm to 9pm outside the New Lynn Community Centre on 45, Totara Avenue.

The New Lynn night market is currently a six-month trial feature due to run from June 20 till December 19.

Bevan Chuang, the night market’s coordinator says the aim behind the event is “to revitalise the place.”

New Lynn is currently on the cusp of further growth and the changes around Totara Avenue mark the beginning of the future improvements for the area, Ms Chuang said.

Inspired by the local night markets in Asia, the Council emphasise on the essence of the event being community based rather than aiming for commercial success.

One of the community development aims of the night market is to showcase local businesses to allow them to gain recognition and confidence, while also bringing additional income.
“Store holders will tell you [they] make more money in one night [referring to the night market] than [at their] shop…over three days” the Ms Chuang said.

Ms Chuang also spoke of the social development aspects of the night market. The Wise Women program from the Auckland Regional Migrant Services is the example she used. The members are given a platform to make money, gain confidence and independence to eventually start up their own businesses and provide for their families without relying on social welfare.

A tea stall owner, Lee David, mentioned that night market, has made the community safer. While, another stall owner, Bhavna Deshpande, and a customer, James, believe the event brings the community together, serving as a place for people to learn about the many ethnicities in Auckland.

New Lynn’s infrastructural developments such as the addition of the shared space street, has increased pedestrian activity allowing events like the night market to become popular places to visit.

Permanency of the event is dependent solely on the results of the trial, Ms Chuang said.

However, other Auckland suburbs have begun showing interest, with Orakei being one.

Customers and vendors are also keen for the market to expand and grow. The council seems to be receiving more positive feedback than criticism, said Ms Chuang.

It certainly has gained popularity, having sold 530 plates of food in its 14th week.

Though the Auckland Council’s trial project runs only in New Lynn, there are similar markets around Auckland that are run by private companies in the parking lots of shopping malls.

New Lynn, however, provides an array of events throughout the year alongside the night market such as The Legends of the Moon, which featured for the second time this year due to popularity. Also the Tea and Toast event that told the story of New Lynn with the suburb’s icons imprinted on slices of toast, which visitors enjoyed with a cup of tea.

The next time you pass the suburb, budget a little extra time to visit Totara Avenue; it not only hosts many events but also houses sculptures and monuments that celebrate the suburb’s remarkable history.

What are your thoughts on the events and overall developments in New Lynn? Click HERE for the full interview with, Bevan Chuang. Please share any comments below or email newlynnbid@gmail.com for any queries.

An insight into the future…

This is a video of what the new Dominion Road will look like once the project has been completed.

The clip gives a fair idea for the commuters and local public to understand and view how the busy road will look after the tweaks involved in the upgrade.

The project aims to improve bus travel during peak hours as well as reliability. There will also be upgrades to the Mt. Eden, Balmoral and Mt. Roskill village centres. Cyclists have also been taken care of according to the plan, with parallel cycle routes on roads that bear less traffic and congestion- all in the aim to increase their safety.