Elliott Shared - Well, Almost


Elliott St’s Shared Space was officially opened this afternoon- and it felt liberating. Tonight was a different story (more on that later).


This afternoon it was magic. There were no cars, and marques shadowed the tables providing outdoor dining.

There was visible signage welcoming the new world of the Shared Space in which cars and pedestrians get along.

Full credit to the old and new Auckland Council but especially the champion of Auckland’s strategy, Ludo Campbell-Reid, the council’s manager for environmental strategy and policy.

Local body architect Rodney Hide celebrates the opening

But returning tonight for a reality check, it’s sad to see the area suffering the early Darby St Shared Space disease.
Yes there were cars parked along the street where they should not be - including in between parking signs designed for motorcycles only.

A problem is the nightclub there, which always attracts people in vehicles that feel the right to park on the street often in front of the nightclub.

There are other issues:
Tonight, the outside dining tables remained totally empty with patrons all inside the various Stables and adjourning restaurants. The reason? No doubt because of the RWC and a liquor ban, the tables make it clear no drinking was allowed.

It’s convenient that Darby, the first Shared Space, is adjacent to Elliott but around the corner in Darby St, during the official opening activities, there were tables but they too were empty. The only dining on offer there seems to be- Eve’s Pantry with its rich array of cakes. More eateries there would be welcomed.

Let’s not kid ourselves. This is not Europe but it could be. And it should be.

And much as I embrace Elliott St as the best poster child for Auckland’s shared spaces, we will never make it work until we also ban cars completely from the street with an exemption for authorised delivery and courier vans - we simply must do that and pedestrianise Queen St.

Sorry but that’s the reality. And wandering further to the almost completed Lorne and Fort Sts (the latter where I kept having to literally jump out of the way from SUVs as I crouched down photographing) motorists will never get the concept until Queen St and adjourning streets have cars banned.

Fort St

Lorne St

We know Auckland is a car city. Finally concessions have been made to pedestrians which are laudatory.  But they are not enough to make it safe, workable and different.

Shared Space is a great concept. Thank goodness it has arrived.

But in Auckland vehicles will never share. As a pedestrian forever ducking cars roaring out of driveways ignoring those walking by, I don’t believe many Auckland motorists will ever make the concessions.

The CBD area around Queen St and side streets must be for pedestrians only.

Let that campaign begin in earnest now we have had a taste of what could be.




  1. rtc says:

    You telling me people can’t drink when sitting at those tables out on the street? If that’s the case that’s a complete joke, as bad as the US, why does NZ always look to countries which have alcohol problems for punitive rules and bans rather than looking to countries which don’t have these issues and try to work out why.

  2. George says:

    Again as usual everything is half baked!
    Not being allowed to have a glass of wine or beer Al Fresco in Auckland is a good reason to avoid it as a tourist destination! Similarly banning alcohol from corner shops. In Germany I have bought one bread roll, a bit of cheese and a bottle of beer to have my lunch in a park, then returned my bottle for 10 pfennigs! Here the binge mentality spoils simple pleasures for everyone.
    AND Aucklanders must learn to SHARE. We all need a little space, whether on the road, the footpath or wherever. We are very selfish in this regard. Until we do schemes such as this will lead to disaster.

  3. Andrew says:

    The automatic bollards protecting entry to Te Wero Island would be perfect for some of the shared space entry points such as Elliott, Darby, Totara - open during loading zone times of 5 or 6am to 11am, then they close the rest of the day except for authorized vehicles. Could either be PIN pad, or RFID tag (RFID would be more secure).

    I’ve seen this in action in Bordeaux, France.

  4. Nick says:

    I think these spaces do work well, even with cars. By making the street into an endless footpath you have instantly given the power to the pedestrian. Sure having no cars would be ideal, but the major step has been made.

  5. Mark says:

    All of these shared spaces will take time. And they will evolve. Much as the double pedestrain phases in Queent St has meant more cars go around the fringes - these will begin to attract less cars.

    I also think we need to see them go though a summer as well - where people will claim the outdoor spaces more.

    the other positive aspect is that these are largely funded by the CBD targeted rate, ie mostly businesses in the CBD - so it has very good support from those businesses - which will ensure ongoing buy-in. ie it’s not just a Council edict, but something the locals wanted.

  6. Andu says:

    Compare that empty table scenario to this


    I hope the shared spaces really take off in the summer.

  7. Feijoa says:

    Without any enforcement, Elliot Street has become a new popular evening parking space. Images below from when I strolled down Saturday evening.
    Elliot St Car Park 1
    Elliot St Car Park 2
    Elliot St Car Park 3
    Elliot St Car Park 4
    Elliot St Car Park 5
    Elliot St Car Park 6
    Elliot St Car Park 7
    These guys were manoeuvring into position to squeeze in between street furniture:
    Elliot St Car Park 8

    During the day on Sunday it looked a bit cleaner, but one person couldn’t resist the free car parking:
    Elliot St Car Park on Sunday

    If they’re going to keep these streets open to cars, 2 things are needed:
    1. Put up a 2nd Shared Space sign at the entrance so there is one on each side of the road. Maybe some people don’t see the ‘inside’ sign if turning from the left?
    2. Parking CCTV cameras on all shared spaces. This would seem a lot more efficient (than stationing a warden at each space) and effective (people will assume it is always patrolled)

  8. Andy says:

    Walked through Fort St shared space twice this evening and nearly got mowed down by crazy drivers. If these spaces are to be shared, the vehicles need to be slowed down - 20kph speed limit max.

    Totally agree that Queen St should be pedestrianised, at least at the bottom end. Allow the cross streets to remain, but run trams up the middle of the street to K Rd and turn the rest of it over to pedestrians and deliveries only.

  9. Greg says:

    Sad to hear that parking is taking the early lead on your shared spaces. When I was last in Auckland, Darby had opened and Elliott was still under construction. It looked quite good and many of the visual cues favoured pedestrians. I came back to Wellington and looked at Lower Cuba St as a failure in comparison - the Councillors planned it to be 2h carparking running the length of the street. (http://www.wellington.govt.nz/projects/new/goldenmile/pdfs/goldenmile-lowercuba-info.pdf)

    Good luck. You’re starting with a much better design. Temporary bollards might be the right way to go. We’ve just implemented them in a few waterfront areas where parkers were running rampant.


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