Record numbers for Open Streets
Hugh Smith was one of an estimated 30,000 people who came to New Zealand's biggest ever Open Streets festival on
Karangahape Rd. Vehicles were banned and the famous road was open for people and bikes only for seven hours on Sunday,
from Queen St to Ponsonby Rd, for a street festival of music, art, food, street performers and activities for kids.
Hugh, who cycled from his home in nearby Newtown with friends, was enjoying the traffic free environment. “The fact that
you can just cruise in and see K Rd with no vehicles is awesome.”
When the crowds weren’t being entertained by live music, buskers, street artists, or cabaret act Mika Haka they were
taking part in the various activities spread along the road. The drag queens from Caluzzi Bar were running a five-a-side
soccer tournament for kids, Bike Auckland held a bike treasure hunt and the Karanaghape Rd Streetscape Enhancement
project team had hundreds of people providing their thoughts on how the street could be improved.
The feedback from the community has been fantastic says Auckland Transport’s Cycling and Walking manager Kathryn King.
“There was such a festive atmosphere thereon Sunday. With so much to do and see, the crowd started large and seemed to
grow throughout the day.
“It was great to see families and groups of friends taking their time to wander along this stretch of road which is
loved by so many for its people, culture and history.
“It was fantastic working with K Rd Business Association on this event. By using local artists, musicians and eateries,
they really captured the essence of K Rd. People loved it,” she says.
Open Streets 2016 has been an excellent opportunity for K Road and Aucklanders to celebrate the cultural, social,
creative and business activity that takes place in this diverse community.
"We know anecdotally that Open Streets was a big day for business on K Road and the level of engagement with the
different groups performing, showcasing, educating and initiating discussion was beyond all expectation" he says.