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Photo of the Day: Slip Lane Removal

Last week we got a Barnes Dance on the Quay St/Hobson St intersection and this week Auckland Transport (and City Centre Integration Group) are going one better by removing a slip lane. This is at the Quay St/Albert St intersection.

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Fantastic work and another small step in making this city better for pedestrians.

63 comments to Photo of the Day: Slip Lane Removal

  • Fabienne Bovis-Higgins

    What’s the rationale behind removing the slip lane? How are all the buses which turn left into Quay Street going to negotiate the turn? Of course the buses will now get stuck at the lights, which means extra time for their journey.

  • nick1234

    Actually this may make things less convenient for pedestrians. Currently if you’re crossing from Albert St to the water side of Quay St (as lots of people do to get to the ferry terminal), you have priority crossing the slip lane as it’s a zebra crossing. Then you can cross to the other side of Quay St when the traffic is flowing out of Albert (as it’s all turning right) .For some reason the pedestrian crossing light stays red during this phase but clearly it’s completely safe to cross. From now on you wont be able to do this as presumably people will be turning left across the crossing too.

    • Based on what is signalised then it will make no difference with the exception you won’t have to worry about some idiot barrelling through the intersection on a free left turn. Have seen people nearly run over here from people doing just that.

  • Ari

    Wow that’s a stupid move. I can just imagine the complaints from the HSBC staff who get stuck in the downtown carpark and cant get out because the slip lane is gone and we get gridlock. Not that I care about them as they shouldn’t even have a carpark there. I’m talking about all those buses using Albert St that benefited from the new bus lane on Fanshawe, now just lost any gains they may have made. One step forward, two steps back. Lose-lose for everyone, pedestrians included, who now will get increased delays. Before this you could walk across Quay when the Albert exit phase ran. Now you wont be able to. Great work. More congestion, more lovely fumes in the CBD….

    • While you could cross from the western side of Albert across Quay, I never saw that many doing it outside of the Barnes Dance phasing. I did see a lot of cars barrelling through the slip lane and almost hitting pedestrians though.

      Buses would be easy to sort out. Most could be changed to turn on to the new bus lane at the Customs St intersection like many already do and then use the new bus lane.

      • Fabienne

        Then it means shifting the Birkenhead Transport stop on lower Albert Street to somewhere along Old Customs House (where there is currently no space), or further along on Fanshawe Street. Has this been planned, or are AT going to improvise as they go along?

        • conan

          “Then it means shifting the Birkenhead Transport stop on lower Albert Street to somewhere along Old Customs House (where there is currently no space)”

          You mean because it is vital to have parking for 3 cars outside this place?

          • Harvey Specter

            I assume they were referring to the buses that come down Albert Street, which would need a new stop opposite the old custom house (Outside Asian alley food hall – cant remember proper name). There is already a bus stop there but it is fully utilized.

            In relation to the buses coming along Custom Street, agree that the 3 parks outside could be turned into a bus stop but a few issues:
            – it would be used by tour buses sitting waiting for passengers
            – there is no cover and the heritage lovers would object to anything that hides the architecture
            – it would mean separating the buses coming from the Uni from those coming from Victoria street, even though there destination is the same, resulting in lower frequency for those waiting at that stop.

            The better option would be a new stop outside the building on the corner of Albert and Fanshawe.

          • conan

            Ah, that makes sense. Tour buses are already a problem on the stop there that the 020 and 005 leave from indeed.

    • Oh my gawd gridlock! Removing one slip lane is going to cause gridlock!

      • Bryan

        Boy, did it ever! Cars and buses queued back beyond Customs St, major danger for all the pedestrians who cross mid-block from Downtown mall to PWC tower. A major lose-lose. Even those using the end-block crossings had to dodge the noddies who queued over the crossings. :-(

        Fortunately, back to normal this morning. Able to cross quickly and safely again. :-)

  • Max

    Ari, why would the ped phase not run when the Albert right turn and the Quay left turn in run? Phasing is not static. I think this will be a non-event, and one more slip lane is gone. I personally would be happy with many of our slip lanes being given raised crossing tables, but if AT feels they can’t do those, well, then take them out. They have no place in the heart of a city.

  • Ari

    Max, because it is already a Barnes Dance. You cant run the isolated crossings in that situation.

  • Chris Werry (@chriswerry)

    Wonder why they chose that one? Surely that street will get a lot of work if CRL stage 1 ever happens or AC swaps QEII square for a bus terminal in Lower Albert

    • Max

      My guess is that the realise it will be many years yet before Quay Street is changed :-( Plus Quay’s southern side may stay similar / same?

    • Ari

      My guess is that some clueless bureaucrat somewhere thought it would be a good idea without understanding the consequences. Much like the Fanshawe bus lane. I’m still wondering if there has been any net benefit whatsoever from that. Combined with this, probably nil or negative.

      • What are you talking about re the Fanshawe St bus lanes. Has been huge benefits in afternoon peak to the majority of people using that corridor. If a BCR had been done I expect it would have been double or even triple digits due to how cheap it was to implement.

        • Ari

          Do you have any data for that? How do you know there are huge benefits? Has AT released any data to back up your claims? I was leaving the city at 6pm last week and say a DOZEN buses stuck in britomart because they had no lane on Customs or Quay to get onto. Courtesy of the lost space given to the bus lanes, the queues on Fanshawe now seem the stretch back a lot further than I ever remember on normal days. Granted I have no data to back this up either, just my dodgy memory. Once the buses get to the lanes, they are great, but the problem is REACHING the bus lanes in the first place. Until I see any actual data, I would argue there is no net benefit to anyone, with people on the buses getting home no sooner than before. What is needed is a complete bus lane the entire way, otherwise it is a huge waste of time.

          • Patrick R

            We know that the Fanshawe St bus lane would be better with extension into Customs St. But that’s hardly an argument that it doesn’t work. Could it be better with extension: Yes. Does this mean it doesn’t speed the buses on Fanshawe now: No.

          • I know of no in-service bus route exiting the south end of Lower Queen St turning right into Customs St, so it couldn’t have been there. Buses going straight ahead into Queen St would only be blocked if cars queue across the intersection, which is bad behaviour more than congestion, is illegal, and needs to be chased up with some enforcement.

            And for buses exiting the north end of Lower Queen St onto Quay St and on to the Lower Hobson St bridge, they stay in the lanes to continue on Hobson St (there’s a sign at the top of the bridge allowing them to turn right from lane two).

            So which buses get/got stuck?

          • conan

            Andrew the 020 does just that, but turns left into Albert.

          • Ari

            Patrick, by that argument, Does it speed buses on Fanshawe now? You say yes, I say, How do you know???. I have seen no actual data, except my own daily observations on the past and current queuing issues. The new bus lane is useless in the off peak, it provides NO benefit in those times. It also provides no benefit in the AM peak either because that direction is pretty free flow. So arguably it only provides benefit in the PM peak and only if the buses encounter NO delay reaching the buses. Every minute they lose reaching the bus lane gives no net gain if they make the minute up later on. We can go on and on, but we wont know until we get the data from all the different buses moving through there in all different directions AND if we know the number of people in those buses affected. Only AT can provide that data. If I am wrong, GREAT! It was worth it! But if I am right and the bus lane is not worth the paint it is made of, then what? Remove it because the data says it benefits no-one? That’s what the great JSK would do, wouldn’t she?

          • conan

            Actually it’s not in service when it does that…so you are right.

          • Ari

            Andrew, no idea sorry, I didnt bother to look all that carefully, as I was driving past. Could have been a dozen buses give or take a few. But the entire block was full of two lanes of buses. They were trying to get out onto Quay St which was blocked up past Britomart Place. I ended up rat-running though the viaduct fairly quickly….

          • Patrick R

            Ari, it is obviously designed to impact the PM peak, being on the west bound side of the road. There was already one on the other side, so your protestations about having no impact in the morning are very silly.
            Off peak is equally irrelevant as there is also much less contest for road space then by any kind vehicle so it also cannot cause any dis-benefit.
            Obviously it is too early for data not matter how many capital letters you type. We have had feed back from regular users of Shore bound buses who report faster trips through Fanshawe, but often complain about the parts of the route before getting to the new lane. This is suggests completing the job rather than deciding it doesn’t work.

    • CRL won’t touch that end of Albert St and is a while away from starting anyway

  • Rob Mayo

    Ok, pros and cons of slip lane removal aside, once the removal work is completed on that Albert St / Quay St corner, what will be installed in place of the lane?

  • Jonathan Hartnett

    Slip lanes are a device used to ensure smooth merging for left turning traffic into a new flow without interfering with any other traffic. They are focused on fast moving traffic and efficiency.

    From a pedestrians perspective there is no positive for having a slip lane, they actually encourage a user to speed.

    • Ari

      In this case, they remove the left turn conflict on the controlled crossing allowing the controlled crossing to run green as long as the vehicle phase is running. So there is a major positive for ABLE-BODIED pedestrians.

  • Queen Street/Upper Queen K Road needs to be barn danced and put in a right had turn from K to Upper Q as a reward (ppl run that through the pedestrians anyway)

  • Yes, if it benefits no-one (and benefits aren’t expected to be unlocked by a next-stage change) then JSK would remove it. But like she and Bloomberg said “In God we trust. Everyone else, bring data” and so let’s wait for the data before we get into heated arguments with lots of capital letters and shouting.

    I’ll say this though – your assertion that the lane is of no benefit outside the peak is pointless (I’d go so far to say a red herring) – when there is no congestion, there is no disbenefit of that bus lane caused to cars. And when there *is* congestion there outside the evening peak, buses still get to bypass it.

  • Braw

    Great work AT. Slip lanes have no place in a city centre environment so good to see this happening. More quick wins like this please.

    • Fabienne

      Why do they have no place in a city environment? why do you want vehicles (which includes a lot of buses in this case) to get stuck at some lights when it would be a lot more efficient to have them going through? what’s the benefit of removing them? The buses coming down Lower Albert Street are now going to have and cut across two lanes of traffic on Quay Street to turn left – ending up on the outside lane and then having to shift back into the bus lane on the inside. Absurd.

      • Harvey Specter

        Buses now have to push into traffic that is backed up well past the bus stop. This will rely on car drivers good nature as there is no requirement to give way to buses re-entering traffic.

        Shocking decision. They should have retained the slip-lane for buses only!!!

        • Braw

          Rather, I think we should be advocating for simple legislative change to require car drivers to yield to buses as what happens in most of Europe, Canada, the US and Australia.

      • Braw

        Fabienne, slip lanes do what they have been designed to do well, that is, to ensure the unimpeded movement of vehicles. No argument there. The issue is that in a city centre, impeding vehicles is exactly what we should be doing. Slip lanes are horrible for pedestrians and so the more of them that we can get rid of from the CBD and other parts of the city the better.

  • bbc

    Glad to see it removed, one more ticket off and plenty more to go, but thankfully AT are making an effort to slowly get through these.

  • Don

    The construction of any form of shelter on the corner of any ‘de-sliplaned’ intersection is unlikely. More likely the thought would be to enable the avoidance of providing shelter.
    Examples of this approach are at Queen St / Wakefield St and Queen St / Mayoral Drive where shelter was to be provided but when the work was eventually completed this was not done due to cost cutting. The slip lanes were removed effectively widening the crossing and, no doubt arguably, increasing the pedestrian waiting times.
    My suspicion is that it was considered that pedestrians could huddle under the building awnings and scurry out when the crossing was green. What has happened, in the case of the Mayoral Drive intersection, is a rather odd sequencing of the lights resulting in red light running due to confusion especially the southbound left-hand turn from Mayoral Drive to Queen St.
    When I think about it has there been any effective shelter provided anywhere for pedestrians in the CBD by the Council? In asking this I have already excluded the idiotic ineffective ‘concourse’ on the Downtown Square side of Queen St.

    • Steve D

      They’ve provided some pretty good bus shelters that are directly under an – also perfectly good – awning on the north side of Customs Street between Queen and Commerce. http://goo.gl/maps/VoZJ3

      That’s double the shelter!

      • Don

        The bus shelters outside the old Sofrana House you linked to Steve D are Adshel.
        My understanding is that these are funded by Adshel in return for the revenue gained from the advertising on them. If these are not funded by the Council/AT and my comment stands.

        • Steve D

          They are paid for by Adshel, but only with council approval. It’s functionally equivalent to the council building them and then selling the ad space themselves.

          The awning actually has a slightly better claim to being provided by the council, since the council own the buildings, although they are leased to Cooper & Co for the next century and a bit.

          The point is of course, the second Adshel shelter is somewhat pointless. It does seem way more straightforward, in the CBD and town centres, to just do classic awnings over the footpath – rather than have loads of little isolated shelters at bus stops and intersections.

          • Don

            I walked past the old Sofrana house today and noticed the bus shelters (and waiting seats) have been removed. The ads, however, remain. I wonder if there is a bigger plan afoot here but they have so far removed the shel from Adshel.
            I suppose that it may indicate that there are people in authority that read this blog and act on posts.
            Another triumph for transportblog? :-)

  • Chris D

    They also removed the sliplane on Scotland street outside the Victoria park new world.

    Death to the sliplane!

    Big lolz that they cause gridlock in town. The busses had to wait for pedestrians on the zebra crossing anyway of which there were heaps. Nothing but good things getting rid of them.

    • bbc

      In reality they simply narrowed the road and converted a 4 lane entrance/exit to/from Scotland Street into 2 lanes, there’s still no pedestrian priority (admittedly they did install a zebra crossing further down Scotland Street), but the Scotland Street College Hill intersection is basically a slip lane in and out just narrower ones.

    • Andrew

      Would have been nice to see some planting or something green in this area rather than a 6m wide concrete footpath at Scotland Street.

  • Ari

    Nick, it is a serious safety issue. The beeping is for blind people. Not able-bodied people. Able-bodied people are meant to cross when they can confirm there is a green man symbol up. Of course in reality people don’t bother looking, they just wait till they hear the beep and cross. Imagine your average zombie student with a smartphone who is used to the barnes dance and AT decides to run an isolated crossing as well. The zombie student hears the beep of the isolated crossing, thinks its the Barnes dance and walks straight into live traffic… Even worse for the visually impaired. So, serious safety issue.

    High St is a one-way street so you can run that single crossing with no conflicting traffic, but I think they disabled the beeper for that crossing, which is probably not recommended.

    • Disable the beeper for that phase then. If that it too difficult to handle then double phase the Barnes dance. If that holds up buses then put in a left turn bus lane. It’s not hard, in fact all very easy the second you stop trying to maximise vehicle flow at the expense of all else.

  • J M

    As congestion on that road isn’t a problem outside the peak I really don’t see your point Ari? And yes it only impacts the PM peak because it’s on that side of the road. The bus lane on the other side should take care of the the morning peak.

  • Benidorm

    Ari, do you have any data comparing pedestrian injuries in slip lanes vs the srious safety issue you describe above?

  • Harvey Specter

    Are we sure they are getting rid of the slip lane?

    Is there any reference or consultation on the AT website – it doesn’t feature on their list of roadworks.

  • Bob

    Any even scarier left turn lane is the one by Foodtown, left into Quay St, if you are on foot, or a bike, by the time you are even partway across a car or truck comes barrelling down on you.

  • Arry

    Excellent. In the past few years, cities in the UK have been gradually removing their slip lanes. I have noticed them in London and Brighton where some footpaths are now extended to where the slip lanes used to be. It’s easy to see as, in most places, the edge of the old slip-laned-foothpath could still be seen. It’s cheap and it’s effective at making cities more attractive.

    As far as I know, the world hasn’t ended due to gridlocks here. On the contrary, I have found that drivers here are much more patient and tolerant to pedestrians and cyclists than those in Auckland. I suspect that the build form of the cities (lack of slip lanes being one of the differences) must have helped the mentality, somehow.

    (ps. I’m aware that an accident in London yesterday, where some idiot ran over and murdered a Kiwi, may have seem to invalidate my last point. But idiots exist everywhere.)

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