A traffic management project trial in an Auckland suburb had to be abandoned after it was sabotaged by irate local residents.
The Auckland Council’s Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board dumped its controversial ‘Onehunga Low Traffic Area’ pilot project due to vandalism and disruption. The $41,000 project involved planting a number of large, unpainted plywood boxes that blocked a couple of suburban roads to traffic.
Disgruntled residents, facing longer travel times as traffic jams formed on nearby major streets when more cars were funnelled on to them, vandalised the boxes and even moved some with a forklift. Other ‘crates’ were littered with graffiti such as ‘Move these please Phil’ and ‘Road 4 cars’.
The council’s initial reaction to this civil disobedience was to reinstated and repair the installations and deliver a lecture about vandalism being “illegal” and costly to ratepayers, and an explanation that its anti-car project aimed to “to create safer, quieter local streets where people are safe to walk and cycle and cars are directed back on to main arterial roads”. The locals didn’t wear it.
Maria Meredith, Maungakiekie-Tamaki local board chair says; “It is disappointing to see this project come to an end under such circumstances, because the main goals of the Innovating Streets projects still remain an important part of what will make our city a great place to live in the future.”
It is not known if the council’s local board consulted Onehunga locals about its vision for a ‘great place’.