Responding to Aucklanders’ feedback, Auckland Council will deliver the last three stages of the Wai Horotiu Queen Street Project in one cohesive design.
From Customs Street to Mayoral Drive, substantially widened footpaths will give more space for pedestrians to shop and linger, moving Queen Street closer to the City Centre Masterplan vision of a transit street prioritising pedestrians.
For the first time in the history of Auckland’s premier retail street, the part of the widened footpaths next to the road will be allocated for those moving quickly on foot, or slowly by micro-mobility (e.g. scooters) and bike. Fast bikes will be encouraged to use the road itself.
In another first, the new design will stop private cars travelling the length of Queen Street by introducing an Essential Vehicles Area (EVA) between Wellesley and Wakefield Streets. In the proposal, ‘essential vehicles’ include buses, bikes, mopeds, motorcycles, goods and service vehicles and emergency vehicles.
The new street layout will be retrofitted to the northern section of Queen Street between Customs and Shortland Streets to achieve continuity.
Auckland Council Director of Infrastructure and Environmental Services Barry Potter says the goal for the Wai Horotiu Queen Street Project was to re-balance space on Queen Street in favour of people.
“Aucklanders asked us to deliver the balance of the project in a single, unified design, and that’s the solution we are announcing today. It reallocates space to create better areas for people walking, cycling and using public transport, while also continuing to enable servicing and deliveries for homes and businesses.
“We believe this will be in place until the CRL is completed and pending a future design which might include light rail. We will be constructing in a way that doesn’t dig up the road and allows us to change and remove materials and re-purpose them for future works,” he says.
The Wai Horotiu Queen Street Project follows the new square in lower Queen Street, Te Komititanga, which was the first in a series transforming Queen Street in line with the City Centre Masterplan’s (CCMP) vision. That vision sees Queen Street as a vibrant centrepiece in the Wai Horotiu Queen Street Valley, with pedestrian-priority and zero emissions.
More detail on the design:
- Footpath buildout, up to seven metres wide, will give more space for pedestrians and provide for a shared area for those moving quickly on foot, or slowly by micro-mobility and bike, next to the road. In the final design there will be signage, paving differentiation, and any other measures required to achieve an appropriate level of clarity for users. The artist’s impression above is a basic spatial representation and not a detailed proposal. Work is still being undertaken to define the shared area appropriately and ensure safety for all users on the basis of a ‘slow speed’ cycle / scooter path which preserves safe pedestrian movement along Queen Street.
- Loading zone designations will better align with business needs. The provision of drop-off and pick-up zones for general use and spaces for mobility-card-holders around the Town Hall are also proposed.
- The proposed EVA will stop private vehicles travelling on Queen Street between Wakefield and Wellesley Streets, preventing through traffic while continuing to support the efficient delivery of goods. Buses, cycles, mopeds, motorcycles, goods and service vehicles, and emergency vehicles will be able to use the area as normal.
- It is proposed the EVA will work alongside turning restrictions and bus lanes to reduce both emissions and traffic volumes in line with the CCMP’s vision for Queen Street to become a pedestrian-priority transit street.
- Auckland Council is also proposing to change the existing pedestrian mall of Vulcan Lane and create new pedestrian malls in short sections of Fort Street and Lorne Street. This will further prioritise pedestrians and reduce traffic into Queen Street. The current documents for Vulcan Lane, designating it a pedestrian mall, date back to the 1960s. By updating the legal designation we can cater for the needs of legitimate users of the lane and introduce measures which prohibit unauthorised cars, utes and vans from parking in the laneway.
- Aucklanders will have the chance to provide feedback on aspects of these measures when the consultation launches later this month.
Later this month Auckland Council and Auckland Transport will share this design with Aucklanders and ask for feedback on aspects of the traffic network changes, such as the proposed time restrictions for the EVA and designations of loading zones.
The work will begin by the end of 2021. By September 2022 it is expected the Wai Horotiu Queen Street Project will be complete.