Takapuna residents hit out at Auckland Council over colourful dots in $400,000 road improvements trial

Takapuna residents are hitting out at Auckland Council over colourful road paintings which were included in a $400,000 road improvements trial. 

The trial is aimed at improving Huron and Northcroft streets which the Auckland Council says are windy, unsafe, and unpleasant for people. 

The changes were introduced in June and July and include speed bumps, decorative planter boxes and colourful dots painted on the road and pavement. 

The biggest changes are on Northcroft Street which is getting a new traffic island, a new median strip and two new mobility parks. There are also changes for Huron street which will get wind and rain shelters and rearranged car parks. Lake Road is getting a new pedestrian island and crossing point. 

A document on the Auckland Transport website shows the improvements will cost $400,000.  

And it seems the cost tag has riled some locals up. One resident posted photos of the colourful dots to a community Facebook page calling out the spending. 

"This is how [the] council spends our rates in Takapuna!" they captioned the post. 

It seemed others agreed with one person asking for a refund on their rates. 

"You couldn't make this stuff up. Can we have a partial refund on our rates? This is a bad joke," they commented. 

"It's like someone with a fixation on the game Twister was let loose to lead the design team - money no object. Ridiculous!" another said. 

"I was shocked when I saw this mess, improving Takapuna I'm all for but this is an eyesore, we are not in kindergarten," someone else said. 

"Just horrible and ugly and not environmentally friendly," another claimed. 

The dots are part of a roads improvement trial.
The dots are part of a roads improvement trial. Photo credit: Facebook

The trial is a joint project between Eke Panuku Development Auckland and Auckland Transport. 

A spokesperson for Eke Panuku Development Auckland said it's aimed at making the area safer and more enjoyable. 

"The paint colours were chosen as a continuation of the colours along Hurstmere Road to help create a sense of connection - one of the priorities that came through from the community co-design sessions. While the simple artwork pattern was selected for its suitability for people with visual impairments.  

"The project is following a 'consultation by trial' approach where the community can interact with the temporary changes in real-time and tell us what's working to make the streets safer and more enjoyable for people.

"We're also undertaking a monitoring and evaluation study of the trial including measuring vehicle speeds, observing how the streets are being used by people, and safety audits. All this information will inform decisions around future design improvements to these streets." 

The spokesperson said they don't have specific details for how much the dots cost but approximately $100,000 was allocated for all of the coloured road and pavement painting.   

"The entire project is 90 percent funded by Waka Kotahi (NZ Transport Agency) as part of its Innovating Streets for People initiative.  

"Eke Panuku successfully applied for the 90 percent funding, with the remaining 10 percent of funds being provided by Eke Panuku as part of its Unlock Takapuna programme."

Waka Kotahi urban mobility manager Kathryn King told Newshub cities and towns thrive when people can move through them safely and easily. 

"Our vision is to increase the wellbeing of all New Zealanders by reducing the amount of driving we do, growing the share of travel by public transport, walking and cycling, and creating a low carbon, safe and healthy transport system that works for the New Zealand of the future.

"The Innovating Streets for People programme is breaking new ground by helping Councils around New Zealand make progress on projects that have been in the pipeline for years, using an agile and creative approach that involves the community in design and adaptation."

King said Waka Kotahi welcomes all feedback to the trial. 

"By testing various changes on streets with communities before committing to major investment, councils have been able to check whether they're getting the direction of change right, quickly make adjustments when needed and ultimately create environments that are good for our health and take care of our environment. " 

Submissions on the trial can be made at akhaveyoursay.co.nz