Hero image

Experience our new Queen Street

Publish Date : 15 Jan 2024
Queen Street Young People
New Fort Street Pocket Park On Queen Street
24.11.22 Q St Walkers Resize
24.11.22 Q St Elevated Path Resize

Window shopping while dreaming of your next holiday, a purposeful walk to work, a leisurely round of retail therapy, or gathering to chat with friends?

These experiences are back this summer, with Queen Street's new layout winning praise.

It’s taken a shift in design thinking to achieve the widened footpaths, allocated pathway for scooters and bikes, and a narrower two-lane roadway - all designed to enhance New Zealand’s premier street.

Named after the stream which flows beneath the pavements, Waihorotiu path now occupies its own space next to the Queen Street roadway, giving riders a new square-to-square experience along flush surfaces.

Cyclists and scooters move at slower speeds along the bi-directional path, leaving pedestrians to enjoy the pavement space, and faster riders to use the road. 

If you start your journey at Aotea Square, ride the path marked with blue wayfinding patterns along the western side of the street. The wayfinding patterns were developed with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei mana whenua design studio, Kaunuku.

At the Civic Theatre corner, cross Victoria Street diagonally and complete your journey to downtown square Te Komititanga, with markings guiding you, along the eastern sunny side.

Lisa Dunshea, Auckland Council Manager of Urban Design, rides the path to work. She shares her perspective on the ease of moving through the place.

“I enjoy my daily bike commute from Mount Wellington to the city centre along the new Waihorotiu path. From what I see, it’s now a street for people, it feels vibrant. Aucklanders and visitors look to be enjoying the new layout.

“There is only one Queen Street, so the design challenge demanded fresh thinking and we were brave enough to do something innovative. It was all part of delivering the City Centre Masterplan, with well-functioning design at its heart.

“A wide range of people worked together. Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow was the precedent idea, but the context and street dynamic of Queen Street were different so a tailored design response was needed.

“In essence, we have transformed a traffic dominated street into a street for people - a place for shoppers, workers and residents to stroll, linger, relax, meet friends, and get to where they’re going. Buses are given priority at busy commute times and there are drop off points and loading spaces. Mature trees provide dappled shade in the summer and there are new bike racks and places to sit.

“I am proud of the huge team effort from the Auckland Council group. It involved a lot of trust and belief from all parties. This design was based on a ‘no dig’ construction principle, meaning quicker delivery with less disruption,” she says.

And there’s a story in the plants. You’ll see plant species which mirror the wetland heritage of upper Queen Street, broadleaf varieties reflecting the forest / ngāhere which once thrived here, and coastal plants to acknowledge the harbour.

The colour palette of the planters also speaks to the area’s history. The gold planter reflects the cultural history of the Aotea precinct, a scoria colour reflects the mid-section’s volcanic geology, and Corten steel is a nod to the maritime history at the waterfront end of the upgraded Queen Street.         

So, when you ride along the Waihorotiu path or walk along the widened footpaths of the newly finished street, you might notice the narrative of the plants, feel the vibrancy of the new design and take cues from the markings and textural changes which will guide you.   

Queen Street is more than a street now. It’s an experience.

Learn 10 cool things about Queen Street and read about 6 jewels of Auckland’s city centre here: Summer of nostalgia for six majestic icons

Back to News