The final version of the Council’s City Centre Master Plan was released, with relatively little attention, a couple of weeks back. There’s a fairly flash little website associated with it here, or if you’re patient you can download the whole 33.2 MB document here. In essence, the Plan seems to be a huge attempt at making Auckland’s city centre a more pedestrian friendly place and, as a result of that, a much nicer place to live, work and visit.
The document is pretty lengthy and has a lot of interesting stuff which relates to transport. That means I’ll need to take a few posts to go through it all – consider this Part 1, which looks at overall elements of the Plan and a number of interesting diagrams which relate to how transport will work in the city centre in the future.
Here’s the Plan’s overall vision:
A lot of connections to how we manage transport in the city centre here. Early on there’s an interesting map perhaps confirming for the first time the approximate route of North Shore rail on the city side: clearly connecting with Aotea Station underneath Wellesley Street.
Another useful diagram highlights the changing modeshares between public transport, active modes (walking and cycling) and driving that will need to occur by 2041 – simply because there isn’t space in the city centre to build mode/wider roads. I must say I’m somewhat surprised the number of vehicles entering the area at peak time isn’t likely to fall further – I guess that’s thanks to the City Rail Link as without the project most of the streets would be bus only. Ironically one of the likely impacts of the CRL is to make it possible for people to drive to the city centre, as without the rail tunnel most streets are likely to need to be for buses only or at the very least have single or double bus lanes along them.
The main public transport diagram shows that light-rail (of the dinky tram variety I assume) will be considered as a way of linking the city centre with its surrounding suburbs. The primary cross-town bus corridor definitely looks like it shifts to Wellesley Street:
A lot of the devil will be in the detail – how much will the Plan’s vision be taken into account in things like improving the pedestrian friendliness of Stu’s favourite intersection? To what extent will the potential of Aotea station be realised in the location of its entrances and exits? How long will it take for Quay Street to be transformed from a six lane superhighway to our premier waterfront boulevard? Will the powers to be have the courage to put bus lanes along Customs Street, even knowing that might lead to congestion?
One thing is pretty clear throughout the Plan, which I will expand upon in future posts, and that is the utter reliance this vision for the city centre has on constructing the City Rail Link.