Car-free CBD trial to go ahead after unanimous Auckland Council vote

Cars will be banned in Auckland central next year in trials aiming to make the city more pedestrian-friendly.

Today the Auckland Council voted unanimously in favour of the trials, which Mayor Phil Goff said would be based on a plan presented to the council in March.

Mr Goff told councillors on Tuesday that the number of people who work in the central city means pedestrian numbers are growing and going car-free was "a lovely vision and an absolute necessity".

The strategy came from the council's own Auckland Design Office (ADO), but many councillors were concerned it lacked a timeframe.

Ludo Campbell-Reid, manager of the ADO, said the strategy was complicated and a schedule had not yet been drawn up.

Councillor Chris Darby proposed that a schedule for the trials be presented to council in March, and suggested the trials also be carried out across the city in centres such as Otahuhu and Albany.

Mr Campbell-Reid reiterated that the strategy was not a war on cars, but "about giving people real choices".

Transport-focused blog Greater Auckland has campaigned for car-free CBD streets in order to reduce emissions, improve the health of residents, and provide more space for pedestrians, cyclists and transit.

In 2017, they said that while some vehicles would always be necessary in the city, steps could be taken to make central city streets more pedestrian and bike friendly.

Mr Goff said the trials were necessary for the growing number of pedestrians in Auckland.

"There is nothing more powerful than a vision with necessity driving it."