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Designing Quay St

Some of the big improvements needed in the CBD seem to be finally starting to move along. First there was the announcement that AT will be doing some more detailed design work on the CRL at the northern end and yesterday the council announced they’re starting the process to get the design for Quay St nailed down.

Auckland Council is seeking proposals from designers to assist with the future redevelopment of Quay Street.

Quay Street has been earmarked for change under the City Centre Master Plan – a blueprint for the future use of the central city.

The council is issuing a request for expressions of interest from design consultants.

Concept designs for development of Quay Street will be considered by the Auckland Development Committee, and Aucklanders will have an opportunity to have their say before designs are finalised.

“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a great waterfront and city centre, and we need the best designers working with us as we develop our proposals to transform this area,” Deputy Mayor and Auckland Development Committee Chair Penny Hulse said.

City Centre integration general manager Rick Walden, said the project was at a very early stage. “As options are developed we will be seeking input from the wider community.”

The council aims to complete the appointment of a design team in November.

This follows work done last year on draft concept designs for the area and one of the images from that work is below

Quay St Concept

There’s not a huge amount to go on from that image but from what I can gather it appears the concept has

  • Shared space intersections
  • Two lanes of traffic each way and no separate turning lanes at intersections
  • A central planted median with Trees
  • Slightly widened footpaths
  • No parking
  • No Cycle Lanes

My understanding is that the design contract will cover from Hobson St potentially all the way through to Tangihua St.

Of course already some Councillors aren’t happy. Cameron Brewer is asking where the cars will go and Mike Lee is suggesting we have to build an insanely expensive tunnel for them.

Quay St - Mike Lee

It’s amazing and disappointing that both of these two only seem to think we should upgrade our city and make it more pedestrian friendly as long as we somehow keep drivers happy.

This is obviously a project we’re going to be focusing on very closely.

84 comments to Designing Quay St

  • Charles

    A tunnel is clearly nonsense. But so is the pretty picture with one or two cars and one or two pedestrians and NO trucks or buses or even campervans. How about concept images with realistic people-density!

    I assume this initiative is part and parcel with other plans that are apparently going to banish the bus area from QE2 square. But to where? and how? What happened to the idea of a transit hub?

    I readily agree that this is an ugly mess now. But just picturing it gone doesn’t work. There needs to be an integrated plan that explains how all the activities carried on in this area can be moved, to the benefit of all. It will have to deal with a much wider area than a few hundred meters of one street. This is the nub of truth in the councillors reactions.

    • bbc

      Trucks should stick to the huge expensive Grafton Gully that was built for them, and much as the shared spaces or double phasing of pedestrian phases on Queen Street have reduced vehicles in those areas, slowing cars here will have the same effect. Cars are like a gas, they’ll simply fill whatever space is given to them. Plenty of people use Quay Street as a way to commute across the city, these people can move to the motorway that was built at great expense. Besides, why is the commute of people in St Heliers so much more important than the thousands of people now living in the city and the thousands of people who come there on bus.

      • SH16 > SH1 doesn’t work for east to north because of metering… a motorway connecting to another motorway through the eye of a needle. So, those vehicles flood the city to no-ones benefit. It’d make good sense to fix that… sometimes motorway investment is actually a key part of the solution to benefit city dwellers and PT users too. I work at Britomart and live on the Shore. I’d much rather take Grafton Gully and keep my vehicle (needed for visiting clients at short notice during the day) off Fanshawe / Quay, but it takes over 45 minutes to get to the bridge via SH16 in rush hour and usually only 20 or so through the city streets. The most elegant solution is to not make the city route take 50 minutes, but rather to have at least one fast route that isn’t through the city!

        • Stranded on the North Shore

          When I drive my family from hospital to the shore in the afternoon peak, I also choose to drive via the CBD, because the timing on the ramp signals means exactly what @ridsel said. NZTA is effectively encouraging drivers to go via the CBD and enter the motorway at Fanshawe Street, because that then becomes AT’s problem! That’s how I see it anyway.

          • Greg N

            I have similar discussions with fellow co-workers who want to enter the motorway from Gillies Ave and face long delays on Newmarket streets to get on at Gillies.
            .
            I suggest to them that rather than enter there, or via Grafton to Northern Motorway link (the next alternative), they use the Khyber Pass Road on-ramp south on-ramp to Southern Motorway, enter there and then exit and immediately loop around at Gillies to head north again. That way you have the shortest possible ramp delays (you will get some but we’re talking like 6 cars ahead of you not 60+)..
            And for you from the Hospital could do the same – either using Grafton to Southern on ramps to head to Gillies.

            However it is stupid to do have to that when the on-ramp at Grafton are huge and can much better manage the strain of long on ramp delays on to the Northern and North Western whereas the CBD itself can’t.

  • Ross

    I suspect we’ll only know if this is a good thing when we read the brief that’s been given to the design consultants. Presumably they’ll be coming up with new concepts based on this brief that might near no resemblance to the drawing on the article. Does anyone have a copy we can see?

  • Rharris

    Can’t wait for this to get underway. This area should really be where pedestrians move around and locals and visitors enjoy. It really needs attractions down there to pull people down like a redeveloped downtown mall or copthorne.

    Are there any similar examples overseas where high traffic areas are altered and peoples car attitudes change to alternative modes?

  • Thomas G

    Agree with Charles entirely. I am sick of these concept drawings that bear no resemblance to reality- if other changes aren’t made it will simply be a pretty street with nose-to-tail traffic.

    Hoping that the eventual plan will also involve concrete steps to reduce traffic from this corridor.

  • Pete and Tracy

    Shared space intersections
    Two lanes of traffic each way

    Can you let us know what is meant by that Matt? Are we going to be playing human frogger crossing 4 lanes of traffic?

  • Pete and Tracy

    “Shared space intersections”
    “Two lanes of traffic each way…”

    Can you let us know what is meant by that Matt? Are we going to be playing human frogger crossing 4 lanes of traffic?

  • Bryce P

    A 4 lane shared space? I can tell you how this is going to turn out.

    • Steve D

      The existing shared spaces are already only barely working with the volume of cars going through them. A four-lane arterial shared space? That’s just taking the piss.

  • Barney

    Drawings like that are as false as tobacco companies saying that smoking is sexy or brewers claiming that drinking beer heightens your testosterone. It is all a big con and has nothing to do with the reality of the situation.

  • BrandonU

    I just can’t get my head around how Cameron Brewer got elected?

    I constantly hear people whining about how Auckland should do this and do that like other great cities around the world. Then when an actual good progressive plan is put forward people complain and start thinking about the most unnecessary things (such as cars/parking) and then i wonder why we are always decades behind.

    Excusing the rant, overall I think this is amazing although i hope those red and blue fences are kept and can we paint them black instead ?

    • bbc

      Brewer stood unopposed in the Orakei ward, a bunch of self-entitled complainers who simply see the city as an impedance to their commute across from St Heliers to drop off little Johnny at soccer practice. He basically represents the old guard of Citizens and Ratepayers now renamed Communities and Ratepayers whose only goal was to avoid spending on anything, and turn Auckland into another boring sprawling suburbia and at the same time killing the CBD for good. Something they were close to achieving. Thankfully Brewer is in the minority these days and spends his time complaining about everything to anyone who’ll listen. He’s basically the NZHerald’s go to person when they want a voice of dissent on Council Plans. However, I don’t think he’s ever come up with anything himself aside from removing bus lanes.

      • Pete and Tracy

        Bbc, in case you missed the news this week, since the formation of the super city the council have been borrowing money at the rate of over 800 million dollars per year. This is on top of a total income stream of 2.3 billion. That is almost 35% per annum. Perhaps when the CRL gets delayed because the city is now in hoc for a shed load you may want to reflect that he may have not been too far wrong on issues of financial management.

        • Bryce P

          You might want to do some investigating to see where it has been going. A huge chunk is on roading upgrades to arterial status. Feeding the monster but only for a little while. Also, that IT project and numerous other things.

          • Pete and Tracy

            Really bryce? Now you are raising a couple of interesting points. Firstly, this is a deflection from Bbc s initial observation Brewer says no to all forms of spending. Second, with this MASSIVE amounts of money. Can you point to where this has gone? Best i can tell aside from Ameti and that arterial upgrade on the north shore, is it albany highway or rosedale road upgrade,can you actually point to this “Feeding of the monster”. The money is going out the door, that there is on question, but on what exactly?

          • Bryce P

            Investigation for Mill Rd, East-West, Lincoln Rd, East Coast Rd, Whangaparoa Rd, etc. The rebuild of Tiverton. Westgate, and there are more that I don’t have time to find right now as I’m flying out the door.

          • Dan C

            Brewer isn’t opposed to all spending. He is quite happy for spending on local projects in Orakei, and thinks a special case should be made to prioritise them over other local board projects as Orakei is full of rich people and thus pay allot of rates. It’s spending on any sort of public improvements elsewhere in the city that he opposes.

            http://cameronbrewer.co.nz/2011/05/30/supporting-orakei-projects/

          • Bryce P

            He also argued against raising Early Bird parking rates. Happy to keep economic subsidies for motorists it appears?

  • Max

    Having talking to CCIG people (City Centre Integration Group) on Quay Street, I would not take the above images as “the design”. For example, I understand that separate cycleways are still very much on the table. Also note that the image above is from last year anyway…

  • Pete and Tracy

    What are you talking about Bryce? Typical management and design costs are about 8% – 15% of total capital expenditure. This list is nothing more than paper projects. Is that all you got?

    Does anyone else get the feeling sometimes most commenters are about 19 -25 year olds sharing with us their broad knowledge and experience?

    Sorry to personalise this but if you put stock by the original comment from Bbc we should be denigrating Brewer for warning of the gross financial mismanagement of this council. Having lived in the city my whole life, and as a rate payer, my blood boils. You, me, we all are going to have to live though the consequences of the profligate behaviour. Len i hope you are reading this because the reality of the swindging service cuts are delivered come the next election you are out.

    Apologise for personalising this but the denigration of brewer for trying to point out financial prudence,

  • Pete and Tracy

    And at the same time be financially illiterate.

    Dear god man. This money would have been borrowed on short term financing turning over every 4 – 6 months.

    7.5 billion !

    Every 1% increase in base interest rates is 75 million per annum just to service the debt.

    Wont it be somewhat stupid if the cash has been loaned at a time of historically low rates on a prayer that they remain low. Is that what the central bank is forecasting? Sadly not.

    • Everything this country does should have a business case. It’s that simple.

      Every person in this country has the right, and should use it, to comment and generally attempt to contribute, and learn whilst doing so.

      We pay people to evaluate options and come up with business cases. Going bankrupt would be my definition of having people in charge who are unqualified for the job.

      On the evidence we have a lot of these people in positions of power.

      That has nothing to do with whether the business case for a multimodal transit system ( which based on the example of world cities which work, involves trains ) exists.

      On the evidence it does, which might be a reason all the political parties agree it is the right thing to do.

      New Zealand chooses to flush cash down various plug holes instead ( see RONS ), but I agree the funding model itself may be the major problem here, as Auckland cannot afford to mow the grass, which raises serious concerns.

      The CRL is really a national project (in my opinion) and should be fully funded as such., lest ratepayers expire due to the insane rates bill.

    • Bevan

      Pete and Tracy – I’m sure you didn’t buy your property with cash, but rather used a mortgage. Debt is perfectly legitimate to fund large purchases. It is also a much fairer way of spreading the expense of building long-term, large scale infrastructure. That is because it spreads the cost not only across current ratepayers, but also over future ratepayers who also get to enjoy the benefits of that infrastructure.
      Auckland is growing fast, as it has done over its whole history. Infrastructure has been struggling to keep up for virtually the whole time. We need to keep building, or we will grind to a holt.
      Shutting up shop and not spending a dime, is not an option. I don’t know what Cameron Brewer’s end game is, but it’s hard to imagine that it is a flourishing city!!

      I’m a ratepayer, and I support building our city’s infrastructure. I also think that rates are probably not the fairest way to raise revenue; a sales tax probably spreads the load more evenly across all those who visit or live in this city. Ring fencing part of GST for the region in which it was raised, to be spent by local government would be an option that places no extra burden on business, but would mean that central government had to share its spoils.

      • Pete and Tracy

        Bevan, let me run a couple of numbers past you. Running a council is not comprable to owning a house, and lets keep it very simple…

        The council is borrowing and spending 35% more than their income currently.
        This is unstainable. The city has to at some point has to live within their means ie slash expenditure by over 800 million dollars a year.
        Then they need to address the “principal”. 7.5 billion (current debt) at (assumed 2.5% interest) is $187, 500, 000 interest. Every one percent increase in the borrowing rate is an extra 75 million, remeber we are currently in a period of historically but increasing interest rates.

        So, just TO STAND STILL the council has to find almost 1 billion dollars with the high likelihood of that amount going up all on a revenue stream of 2.6 approx billion.

        That is, we are screwed.

        There is no way a bank would let a any person could run this kind of financial arrangement. The council can, even though it is practically financial suicide, and has a double A rating solely because it has the ability to slap more taxed on the peasants, you and me.

        Be angry, the CRL is nothing more than a dream. Len will make some political capital out of this whinging about the evil government, i see even now there are attempts to reframe the discussion to it being a national project that the city should not have to pick up some of the cost. The bottom line is Len has pissed away this cities future in a few short years.

        • Bevan

          Pete and Tracy “There is no way a bank would let a any person could run this kind of financial arrangement. The council can, even though it is practically financial suicide, and has a double A rating solely because it has the ability to slap more taxed on the peasants, you and me.”
          A little emotive, but yes you get the point. Sovereign institutions like central and local government have means of servicing debt above and beyond the individual or business.

          “the CRL is nothing more than a dream”
          I hardly think so. The council has designated a route and purchased most properties already. Council has it as it’s number one priority. It is supported at central government level by the three main parties – Labour, National, Greens. It is supported by the majority of Aucklanders in polls. It will happen. The only question is a main start date of 2016 or 2020.

      • TimR

        Hi Bevan. This all sounds perfectly reasonable, and yes in our modern society debt is ubiquitous. Is it a good idea? As with all borrowing, it depends, but I think every believer in debt borrowing should read up on what they’re getting into. Chuck Marohn is pretty perceptive on the risks: see strongtowns.org. Sobering.

        It’s worth remembering that the urban growth/infrastructure debt symbiosis model was pretty much invented in order for sprawl to happen (v1 the UKs 18thC canals + railways, v2 the postwar highway model).

    • Bryce P

      Pete and Tracy, what is your opinion of the proposed AWHC?

  • Waspman

    I agree with virtually nothing from Brewer, largely owing to the mindless oppose anything character but objectively Quay Street is a major vehicular arterial to the CBD and a link to the city west and to the North Shore from the Eastern Suburbs. You can’t just turn it off as the only alternative to take the traffic is Customs St and it can’t deal with the traffic as it is. Its naive to think Quay Street can become some kind of pedestrian wonderland without properly considering the ramifications and how to deal with them.

  • Pete and Tracy

    *** This comment has been edited as it was deemed to be in violation of user guideline #1, c.f. “Commenters are guests and are asked to behave accordingly. Treat other members of the community with civility and respect …***

    Anyone wanting to contest my points?

    There is nothing facing us all but the sure steady grind of debt repayment. I feel most sorry for the sub 40s of this city. I have my house in grey lynn (which coincidently is not going to have housing intensification due to political reality – that is for the outer suburb plebs). Your services are about to go down the toilet. It may take 6 months, 18 months, 2 years. But we are in the hurt locker make no mistake

    • MFD

      You are missing the point. I am assured by others that Aucklanders have signed up to making Auckland the most liveable city in the world. The EIU has just published their latest liveability results and Auckland is STILL at number 10. There has been no progress at all. It’s clear that AC needs to spend a lot more and fast. Rates are the obvious funding source since the properties are immovable and AC can put a lien on them if the ratepayer cannot or will not pay. The downside of increased rates won’t show up in the EIU calculations so let’s crank those rates up and knock Vienna off the top spot! (and please try to be a bit more upbeat…you put a bit of a cloud over my breakfast).

    • Bevan

      Pete and Tracy “I have my house in grey lynn (which coincidently is not going to have housing intensification due to political reality – that is for the outer suburb plebs).”

      Wow. That’s insightful. I now have a mental picture of who I’m talking to. Thanks.

    • C W

      Pete and Tracey, I think you misunderstand the agenda of this blog and the attitude of its commenters. You have built up this straw man argument where we all want unlimited spending funded by spiraling debt and you are the sole voice of financial prudence.

      In reality, if you read more of the posts on this blog, you will find that they pay a lot of attention to the value for money we receive from various projects. The agenda is not to push the council into limitless spending but to provide informed analysis on how transport policy and spending should be structured to ensure maximum benefit is received from the money we do spend. Note how transport blog is opposed to the AWHC and Puhoi-Wellsford motorway because they cost too much.

      Ultimately we need investment so that we can fix Auckland’s transport problems and keep up with growth – sitting by and doing nothing is a recipe for disaster and future generations will not thank us for it.

      • Pete and Tracy

        A straw-man comment that in itself is a straw-man comment.!
        I haven’t misrepresented your position at any point, please pay me the same curtesy.

    • Stu Donovan

      Hi “Pete and Tracy”,

      I’ve edited your comment as it was unnecessarily nasty/personal.

      However, for you information:
      1. You will find I have only ever mentioned my qualifications once before on this blog, and then only when a commentator asked what my economic qualifications were. So I think you’re gilding the proverbial lily to infer I have promoted my qualifications on this blog. In general I prefer to ground my arguments in logic, rather than presumed authority and/or ideology.
      2. I do not consider myself to be a socialist. According to political tests I have taken, I am at the liberal end of the spectrum on both economic and social issues. I tend to believe people are best to make their own decisions, but that government intervention is warranted in imperfectly functioning markets – especially where imperfect marking functioning is likely to lead to issues of intergenerational equity/efficiency. The purpose of interventions should normally be to correct the distortions that are resulting in imperfect market functioning, if at all possible.
      3. In this context, I support removing distortions in transport/land use pricing first and foremost, especially degregulation of parking and time-of-use pricing. But progress on these fronts is relatively slow. Hence, in the meantime I do support some investment in the CRL as a “second best policy”. I suspect that in a world where transport/land use distortions were removed, then there would be sufficient demand for the CRL to be a worthwhile investment, especially once unpriced externalities were considered.
      4. I am relatively fiscally conservative and very much in favour of the public sector balancing its books. The reason being that I think we have a number of major demographic and environmental challenges to overcome in the future, which we don’t want to be tackling at the same time as we try and paying down debt. For this reason I also advocate for government agencies to manage debt at reasonable levels.

      Finally, aside from the user guidelines (http://transportblog.co.nz/about/user-guidelines/), there’s a general phrase that I suggest you keep in mind when commenting in the future. That is, “don’t be a dick”.

      • Pete and Tracy

        Hi stu,

        Something you may want to consider. Its a tad ridiculous to remove my comments and then comment on them yourself when noone can see what you are refering to (Stuart’s response: I’m communicating with you. No one else needs to see what you wrote.)

        A cute way of framing the debate. You have to admit, that is not cricket (Stuart’s response: Yes it is – refer to the Blog’s user guidelines if you are in anyway confused by why I edited your comment). In your vernacular ” don’t be a dick”. (Stuart’s comment: I don’t think you’ve quite taken the message on-board. I’d suggest re-reading this phrase a few times before bed-time tonight).

        Question: do you belive in a central bank system of monetary supply? (Stuart’s response: Not really, and I’m following the development of alternative currencies very closely. But it’s not particularly relevant).

        Think you and me both know the answer…
        Scratch just a little and your self proclaimed liberalism falls aside to… (Stuart’s comment: My liberalism is not self-proclaimed; it’s a function of tests I took, e.g. political compass. All these ideological terms are relatively meaningless anyway … I’d rather just debate ideas. But relative to the average NZer I’m fairly liberal).

        Anyway would you care to comment on the observation in the deleted comment? (Stuart’s comment: Your comment wasn’t deleted, it was edited to remove nastiness. Future comments will be carefully monitored).

        • Pete and Tracy

          That said, i did cross the line, it was unnecessary, and for that i apologies.
          Am somewhat upset and a few people here do not quite yet grasp the scale of fiscal response required. Need to have beer and let some things slide.
          Again my apologies, despite the rant this blog is great, the only forum i am aware that there can be this exchange of views. Appreciate the hard work team. As penance next time you are fund raising i will chip in.

          • Stu Donovan

            Apology accepted and look forward to your future financial contributions.

            Thanks also for complimenting the blog. It does take a lot of volunteer time to keep it running. And we’re very keen for the comment thread to be a beacon of online civility/respect, albeit with a healthy dose of passion and cheekiness thrown in for good measure.

            While enjoying your beer, please ponder the following:
            1. If you want to address/criticise us personally, then at least use your real name. Be brave and own your comments; and
            2. Supply a real email address when you comment critically, or even better email us. If we take issue with what you say then we’ll normally email you first before publicly engaging.

    • Re Pete and Tracey. Contesting points? Happily, pick a point and I’ll contest.

      More seriously, special measures for Auckland are coming, probably by Fat and/or Skinny Controller. Auckland has so many problems, it’s difficult to know where to start.

      I would begin by firing every incompetent in positions of power and hiring on proven merit alone, so it’s just as well that as Cartman said in South Park, or not, I have no authority

  • We should look to Melboures Southbank Promenade. Formerly a multi lane industrial focused arterial right along the waterfront. People squealed all the same thing, where will the cars go, it’s already congested enough, it’s an important freight link, think of the poor trucks.

    Well they completely pedestrianised it and it was incredibly successful, and turns out the sky didn’t fall in and there wasn’t any traffic apocolapse destroying the city. They figured that out 24 years ago, surely we don’t have to wait any longer to realise the same?

    • Q: Where will the cars go?

      A: Away! The cars will go away. Also: to Grafton Gully.

      Taking cars and trucks of Quay St was, we were told at the time, why we built Grafton Gully. That bit’s done, now let’s get on with Quay St Boulevard!

      • Steve D

        Q: where will the cars go?

        A: Rather more cynically, I think: the cars will continue to go down Quay Street. There’s nothing here to suggest any measures that might reduce the number of cars going through the area. The idea of a four-lane “shared space” is just a ridiculous joke.

    • Rharris

      Interesting. Hard to win over the skeptics who are born to moan.

  • I’m not sure of the Waterfront plan or the latest development with the Trams but there’s no overhead wires in that shot. Has the whole thing been abandoned?

    • Dan C

      There are tram lines in the road in that picture. These pictures are all make believe. So i guess we will either have no trams, or we will have overheads, but perhaps they will run on battery while they cross quay st, so the view of the water is not obstructed by wires. Shouldn’t need too big a battery pack to power the trams for a few 100m.

      They do this in Nice for example http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/nice-trams/

  • Steve D

    Why Quay Street instead of Customs Street? They both equally act as barriers to the waterfront, but Customs Street has a lot going on on both sides, whereas Quay Street is barren to the east of Queen Street / Queen’s Wharf. There’s nothing much to the north there but a giant red fence. So making it easier to cross has some value, but less value than it does on Customs Street.

    If this were tied in with some plan to reduce the footprint of the port it’d be understandable, but for now if we’re only going to improve one of them, Customs Street seems like the better option.

    • bbc

      It’s about reconnecting with the harbour that defines Auckland and has been ignored for decades. It’s also pretty soul less because of the fact that Quay Street has been a car dominated nightmare for a very long time. What exists now isn’t a reason not to do something, but rather the changes that happen by doing something.

      • Steve D

        > It’s about reconnecting with the harbour that defines Auckland and has been ignored for decades.

        Well yes, but there’s three barriers between (most of) the city and the harbour: Customs Street, Quay Street, and the red fence / port land. Eliminating the barrier of Quay Street east of Queen Street doesn’t reconnect with the harbour much, since you just get about six metres closer to the red fence, which still blocks you off. (It does provide a benefit between Queen’s Wharf and the Viaduct). Whereas eliminating the barrier of Customs Street both improves access to the harbour just as much as eliminating the barrier of Quay Street, and also aids access to everything between Customs and Quay Streets.

        > It’s also pretty soul less because of the fact that Quay Street has been a car dominated nightmare for a very long time. What exists now isn’t a reason not to do something, but rather the changes that happen by doing something.

        These changes could make Quay Street more soulful on the south side, but they can’t do much to the north side, which is already pretty good (around the ferry terminal), has separate independent problems (the wharves) or is going to remain blocked off (the port land). Whereas fixing the equally car-dominated Customs Street could make it better for its whole length on both sides.

  • George D

    I’m afraid that if this goes ahead, a child will end up under a semi-trailer.

    Do shared spaces work on arterial routes anywhere else in the world?

    • Part of the idea is to end Quay St being an arterial route. Most traffic that uses Quay St should be using Grafton Gully to get between the Shore and Tamaki Drive, and the rest can use Customs St, Beach Rd, and the Strand.

    • A parallel plan is to remove the Lower Hobson St bridge.

      • Dan C

        That was my first question when i saw this post, will they be removing the lower hobson st flyover? It really is massively over-engineered if the waterfront is to become a place for people rather than a throughfare. The increase in property values below it would be phenomenal.

    • Semi-trailers are not supposed to be using that route now, that was the deal when we handed Grafton Gully over to Motordom. This needs both enforcing and visual cues in the street design.

    • Steve D

      If this isn’t an arterial, why does it have four lanes?

      Indeed, if it’s a shared space, why is it not one lane, one way, with a 10km/h speed limit, like the others? Oh. Because there’s still going to be loads of cars and trucks going down it.

      • Now you’re getting to the nub of the issue: It isn’t clear that this project quite has the courage of its convictions, as evidenced by the four lanes!

        Perhaps the process will highlight this contradiction.

        • Wow I missed that detail. How does a proper shared space even have vehicle “lanes”, let alone multiple vehicle lanes?

        • Steve D

          It’s very unclear what’s intended. If the Hobson Street ramp is staying, this whole thing is still going to be Car City no matter what fancy paving we install. And if the ramp is going, well, why are there still four lanes? Why isn’t there a mandatory left turn into Tangihua Street?

          As a complete aside, Scene Lane seems to have become the major pedestrian route, compared to Quay Street or even Beach Road. Despite being an alleyway designed for vehicles, there are a lot of businesses that open up onto it, certainly more than Quay Street which just has carpark entrances. If we’re looking for new shared spaces…

          • I think the answer is that they want to work towards removing the flyover in part by de-tuning Quay St. The other important part of the plan is they want to be able to shut Quay St more often and more easily for events. This is why they are keeping buses off it, so that bus routes can operate normally during events that close it.

            All of this is reasonable, but perhaps somewhat disingenuous… The has been a whole study of east west movements that looks at Quay, Customs, Vic, Wellesley, and Mayoral, maybe K too. CEWT, City Centre East-West; cute. And sensible, as there is no point at considering any of these in isolation.

            Let’s just say there a lot of competing demands on all of these routes, and that the dreams of the m’way planners have not really come to pass, but perhaps we can make drivers choose that option more by restricting the alternatives as through routes by re-purposing them towards place quality.

  • Maggie

    I can see the attraction of this plan, but wish to raise two issues from the original post. Firstly 30,000 cars a day on Quay St seems a lot to simply move sideways onto other (clogged) routes. You cannot know where these people are commuting to and from, as no studies have been done. With Quay St feeding directly from Tamaki Drive on one side, and the Harbour Bridge on the other, surely it calls for a more sophisticated solution. Secondly, why rubbish the tunnel idea? I figure this is reclaimed land and would be more akin to the Thames mud to penetrate. Not like the incredibly dense volcanic rock for the CRL.

    • Maggie a study has actually been done although it’s still within the walls of Auckland Transport. My understanding is most people coming from Tamaki Dr are either heading over the shore – in which case they can use Grafton Gully which it’s direct motorway connections or are going to to the areas around Ponsonby. That one is a bit harder to solve and I hope to report on it shortly. The key thing to remember is that traffic doesn’t have to shift or change overnight. It could slowly take place over a number of years with a coordinated campaign so that it isn’t such a shock to people.

      As for the tunnel, reclaimed land is basically the worst to build on as it’s very soft so more difficult building techniques are needed. You will recall we recently build a three lane tunnel of about the same length and with similar ground conditions to what would be under Quay St. It’s known as the Victoria Park Tunnel and it cost about $340 million. Do we really want to spend ~400m to just so we don’t inconvenience some cars which have other options? (also vehicle volumes to the CBD have been slowly dropping over the years). Apart from that if it was tunnelled what happens to the traffic once it emerges to the surface again? the current thinking is to eventually remove the Hobson St viaduct so that would probably mean either carrying the tunnel on even longer. Also the majority of the rock the CRL will be dug through isn’t volcanic but the sandstone that makes up large parts of the region and that is under the volcanic rock. Yes there is Volcanic rock at the southern end but the majority of the CRL won’t be affected by it.

      • Re : Sandstone. Interesting, are we planning on selling that for the construction of sandstone apartment blocks?

        As we have the right to dig to the centre of the earth, the least we can do is profit from it.

    • Dan C

      We could follow the example in Seoul. Turn customs street into a busway, that will move enough people to completely close Quay St to traffic. In Seoul they replaced a 120,000 cars/day freeway with a river and nearby busway.

      http://www.preservenet.com/freeways/FreewaysCheonggye.html

  • Maggie

    I will be interested in this study, and how it was done. Never seen anyone asking the punters where they are going. Assuming your information is correct, that puts somewhere around 20,000 extra vehicles a day into Grafton Gully, and maybe 10,000 or something into Customs St?, Symonds St? or somewhere. Is this truly feasible? I had heard a suggestion of trialling it during summer weekends – that sounds like a good idea.

    Re tunnels – surely the Vic.Park tunnel must be different terrain for part of it because it is at such a different elevation at the south end. That part can’t be reclaimed land. Also I was referring to ease of straight tunneling into soft reclamation land rather than any comments on building techniques. Londoners managed it over a century ago. Traffic once it emerges from a Quay St tunnel?….. Well, it carries on as it does now at either end – without compromising the waterfront area. As for costs – well, you are absolutely right there. This Council has racked up one hang of a debt. However….”just so we don’t inconvenience some cars which have other options” is inclined to minimalise the reality. Rather like saying we are currently just “inconveniencing some people who can cross Quay St. at the lights”. Neither statement provides an adequate solution. As for the volcanic rock comments – I had read that the density of the rock was the reason for the high cost. If you are the authority….then I stand corrected. Should know better than to believe everything I read. Regardless, I would like to see this idea eventuate……but would also like to see realistic alternative routes based on a sound affordable plan.

    • Sailor Boy

      Perhaps they could use Wellesley and Mayoral as they are completely empty all day long.

      • Steve D

        It’s amazing how empty most of the big arterials in the CBD are, even at the height of rush hour. Petrolheads moan about “empty buses” and “empty bus lanes” – but what about all our giant empty roads?

        You could probably close the Queen Street motorway overbridge to cars completely and no-one would even notice.

  • Ari

    This is a joke. Has to be. Otherwise it is fantasy. Firstly this wont happen for a long time because AC is broke. This is a fact. CRL is a gaping hole taking all the money (and it should, as the most important project in Auckland) so most other projects like these will be delayed a long time. But secondly the design itself is stupid. As has been suggested, the picture should be full of cars and trucks, like reality. Once it gets through the detailed design, it wont look anything like the pictures.

    Shared space!! Thats what a level road suggests. But it wont be shared space. It cant be shared space. Not with that level of traffic and traffic lights. Traffic lights give right of way. So I dont see that type of environment ever happening.

    Cars don’t just magically dissappear. Yes people take different routes, but only if there are other routes to take. I understand Wellesley and Victoria will have no general vehicle access in the long term so you lose your main East/West links. Customs St is at capacity at peak times, so you can’t move those cars from Quay to Customs. So essentially you have Mayoral and Quay with both being at capacity. Also, most traffic using Quay are heading to the CBD, not the shore. Only a small fraction continue to the bridge. Quay is primary route to access Hobson,Halsely,Beaumont etc, as well as the viaduct and wynyard quarter. Cars going to the shore use the motorway, not Quay st. There is on option to access the western half of the CBD if you are coming from the east. You can only use Quay st as the most direct route. One option is to create an offramp at Wellington St or an additional offramp at Nelson. But I don’t see that happening.

    Not to mention, Customs St is already approaching WHO standards for particulates or whatever. So we have this lovely shared space on Quay st, for all the cruise passengers to walk around, but the moment they get to Customs st, they all choke to death on bus fumes. Great job.

    • Sailor Boy

      Rather disingenuous to ignore the busway planned for customs street, and hard to see why we wouldn’t retain the current route for traffic on Wellesley/Mayoral that is empty all day long.

      • I am disappointed. Clearly, Mayoral Drive is for the mayor.

        More seriously, although this will no doubt end up in the bucket marked daft, I wonder…

        1. Given the port, Tamaki and places to the east are not going anywhere
        2. And that that CBD is in fact a point people pass going someplace else
        3. Why not run fast rail along reclaimed shoreline to the west, or via the completed Core Rail Network
        4. And build a new CBD out there which is entirely focused on arriving via PT from all the points of Planet Auckland

        Over time, traffic to That CBD , arriving by combustion engine vehicle, should reduce and the air will become breathable again. Hopefully the port will also go.

        Anyone can get between both CBD Central and CBD West fast and easily via rail. The main problem with a CBD Central is that it is constrained in land and built infrastructure/transit paths. Auckland itself has plenty of better land , elsewhere, we just need the transit links (PT) in place.

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