Ponsonby Rd review under way

Plans to shape the face of one of Auckland's most high-profile strips will be up for debate as the Draft Ponsonby Rd Masterplan opens for public consultation today.

A working group was formed in March this year made up of Waitemata Local Board members, iwi, community representatives, stakeholders and the Ponsonby Business Association. It was tasked with developing Ponsonby Rd as a key destination.

A range of development plans have been discussed over the years and it is now time to engage the community in the conversation, Waitemata Local Board deputy chairwoman Pippa Coom says.

"This is the starting point of the conversation. The working group just had to put up the straw man but we haven't decided anything. We really want to get everyone engaged and giving feedback."

The population of Ponsonby and its surrounding suburbs is expected to boom over the next two decades from 12,636 residents to 18,650.

The study area focuses on the 1.7 kilometre road which runs from Jervois Rd and Three Lamps through to Great North and Karangahape roads.

Pedestrian and cyclist safety and the provision of open space are two of the main priorities of the plans.

Areas of key debate are thought to be the development of Three Lamps and a proposal to open it up for two-way traffic, the development of the site occupied by Nosh at 254 Ponsonby Rd and the introduction of a public space on the corner of Rose Rd and Williamson Ave.

There has been a lot of enthusiasm for open space and pocket parks, Ms Coom says.

In 2006, Auckland Council purchased the site at 254 Ponsonby Rd to provide an urban square in the heart of the Ponsonby business area for community gatherings and events.

Three design concepts include provisions for a large or small open space and combinations of com mercial and residential development.

"There are some strong opinions on it. We've had a retail specialist tell us that some activation on the street frontage is better for business and we had community tell us there was a desperate need for open space," Ms Coom says.

To improve legibility, concepts include Three Lamps gaining dedicated cycle lanes or two-way traffic.

Alternative traffic calming measures to work alongside the 40kmh speed limit have been called for by residents, Waitemata Local Board member Tricia Reade says.

"Although the 40kmh limit is perceived to have worked from an Auckland Transport point of view, from residents and people using Ponsonby Rd you are constantly getting told that it's not working.

"They are the ones who see the cars going at 50 and 60kmh."

Public consultation on the draft masterplan will continue until September 4.

The plans will be officially released at the Ponsonby Community Centre, 20 Ponsonby Tce, from 11.30am to 12.30pm today.

Go to aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/haveyoursay and click on Current Consultations to view the plans and have your say.

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