Is it “Back to the Future” for Garden Place?

One of the proposals included in Hamilton City Council’s “Central City Transformation Plan” (CCTP) is to open the area along the northern perimeter up for cars, both as a through road and to create new car parking spaces. Well, once upon a time, the city’s heart was little more than a car park, as was the case in many cities whose planners went ‘gaga’ for cars and squeezed people to the margins.

Garden Place carpark In the years since then though, almost everyone seems to have worked out that in the places where you want people, one of the last things you want to do is encourage people to drive or store cars there. Indeed, almost everywhere you look around the world (and NZ!), cities are pedestrianising their urban cores and making them more people-friendly. The CCTP includes some very positive movements in this direction, but this particular proposal seems retrogressive in nature. One has to wonder how great the returns could possibly be in exchange for the pedestrian/vehicle conflict, severance, noise and visual blight this would entail – is it envisaged as something of a “peace offering” to drivers in exchange for the proposed Alexandra Street shared space?

I do understand the desire to try to improve the fortunes of central city retail (in particular) by providing another place to quickly park and ‘pop in’ to a shop or the public library, but I think it’s also likely to lead to more people cruising the surrounding blocks looking for a parking space there. In this instance, I just don’t think the costs are worth it.

Anyway, Generation Zero has created a quick submission form where you can give feedback on this proposal, as well as the CCTP in general.

Generation Zero

For the record, we find a lot to like about the CCTP, and will be looking forward to seeing most parts of it implemented. In fact I’d go as far as to say I hope the council will dare to make the CCTP even more transformational in its implementation, and resist the tendency to dilute it down to something that is “safe” yet bland. Time will tell.

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