The temporary COVID-19 works installed in the northern end of Queen Street will undergo some refinement over the next week. These improvements are based on feedback received from businesses and residents to make the purpose of the new spaces clearer for users and improve the overall appearance of Queen Street.
A portion of the plastic sticks on the northern end of Queen Street between Shortland Street and Customs Street will be removed and replaced with concrete safety separators (pre-cast traffic islands).
The plastic sticks around loading zones in this section of roadway will remain so that the space can continue to be used by those servicing Queen Street businesses and residencies.
The northern end of Queen Street is being prioritised for these enhancements because it has the highest volumes of pedestrians.
Early next week the expanded pedestrian area created during the COVID-19 works will be painted to make it clearer to pedestrians that the area is theirs to use.
There will also be minor changes in other areas of Queen Street to improve signage, enhance the loading zones and increase the visibility of bus platform edges.
Later this month, the ‘Access for Everyone’ pilot for the Waihorotiu Queen Street Valley will begin, which will test new ways to lay out Queen Street prioritising space for pedestrians. Access for buses, emergency and service vehicles will be retained, while non-essential traffic will be discouraged.
This pilot will be co-designed with the Queen Street community and will result in further modifications to the current installations
Auckland Council’s Manager City Centre Design, Tim Fitzpatrick, says the improvements being made this week will provide a base for those involved in the co-design process to build on.
“The lessons we’re learning from the original COVID-19 works and these latest enhancements will inform the co-design process. A tactile trial, where people can experience a new physical space and decide if they like it is always more informative than people looking at plans on a page.
“We want a high-quality Queen Street that people want to spend time in, and we believe the more we can test different ways of achieving this then the better our outcomes will be,” says Fitzpatrick.
The enhancements will be funded through the existing COVID-19 emergency works budget provided by Waka Kotahi (New Zealand Transport Agency). The pilot will be funded by Waka Kotahi’s Innovating Streets fund and the City Centre Targeted Rate.