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Queens Wharf Traffic Changes

In accessing Queens wharf on foot most people flow straight from the intersection of Queen St and Quay St as it is the most direct route. The only problem is that it’s also the entrance and exit on to the wharf for vehicles which often dominate the area. This is something I’ve written about before.

Queens Wharf Car Access 2

Thankfully Auckland Transport are finally going to do something about making the area safer for pedestrians by shifting the vehicle access to the east.

The changes will involve:

  • Removal of the Quay Street right hand turn onto Queens Wharf
  • Removal of the traffic lights from the current vehicle entrance onto Queens Wharf which will only be available for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Relocation of the vehicle entrance to Queens Wharf eastwards which will not be signalised
  • Vehicles exiting Queens Wharf can only turn left onto Quay Street
  • Vehicles entering Queens Wharf must be traveling from the west, and must turn left off Quay Street onto the wharf

This is a good outcome and it’s good to see Auckland Transport finally doing this. It should help towards making Queens Wharf a nicer place for people to be. The changes are also shown below.

Quay St entrance to Queens Wharf

Weather permitting work starts on making this change tomorrow night.

44 comments to Queens Wharf Traffic Changes

  • Peter

    So will the airbus express route be adjusted also?

  • Guy

    My question also – where will that bus go from now? Will it be the sole vehicle allowed to exit the wharf by going straight ahead? Or will it too have to turn left?

    • Jonty

      It won’t be able to go straight ahead, since the exit is moving East. My guess would be Left on Quay, then right into Commerce, Customs, then left on Queen St and follow the current route.

  • Brendan

    When cars turn left into Queens Wharf across the cycle lane, who gives way?

    If it is the turning traffic, will there be any signs to help remind drivers?

    • DamianS

      As a driveway (not a signal anymore), drivers will have to give way to cyclists and pedestrians.

      Being Aucklanders, some will in theory need a BIG reminder – yet I can’t see it being worse than it is… so good on Council for changing this.

    • Bryce P

      Signs? Yes, people walking and riding bikes. That should do it. :-)

  • Jonty

    This is a good start. Now how about bringing down some of that awful red fence that bottlenecks the whole area for pedestrians and cyclists? Trying to ride past here is always a nightmare. More often than not there is a busload of tourists blocking the whole shared path due to the path being reduced to make way for a bus stop https://www.google.co.nz/maps/@-36.8434359,174.7681332,84m/data=!3m1!1e3 I assume this idiotic bus stop will be removed? Why can’t these tourist buses use the same stop as the Air Bus, on the wharf itself? /Rant

    • DamianS

      I understand the red fence is heritage-protected, and as you say, it’s the bus stop pinching down the shared path (technically not a shared path until a few meters further, but heck).

      So yeah, that stop should be changed but I don’t think it will happen as part of this…

      • Jonty

        Heritage protected? What about just leaving some of it there as a reminder, like what they did with the Berlin Wall? :)

        • DamianS

          I like the fence – and it’s not the fence that is the issue, it’s the amount of traffic lanes and space we gave to motor vehicles on Quay. That will change in the long run – and with enough breaks in the fence to allow people to enter/exit the Wharf easily, keeping it there will be a great feature.

          • Bryce P

            Quay St could be changed in 1 week if there were the political will. And no, it doesn’t require acres of new pavers. Paint, bollards, rephasing lights, etc.

          • Julian G.

            I like the red fence, too. I support removing the fence & gates around the ferry terminal and leaving the lanterns, like on 131 Quay St. (http://tinyurl.com/oevqjwo). I’d also like to see the fence pieces & gates repurposed into an art installation or feature (not a barrier) somewhere along the waterfront.

        • Greg N

          “Heritage protected? What about just leaving some of it there as a reminder, like what they did with the Berlin Wall?”

          Or for more local examples of “leaving tiny bits behind for a reminder” how about the Queens Head Tavern facade up near Mayoral drive, or the old BNZ Building Facade on Queen St.

    • Bryce P

      Or we could, you know, change a couple of traffic lanes into PT lanes.

  • Don M

    Just a reminder.
    The shared cycleway stops at Queens Wharf gates the footpath in front of the ferry building is pedestrian only not cycleway.

    • Bryce P

      Because it is, doesn’t mean it’s right. I’m not riding on-road on Quay St. Nope. I’ll take my chances on the wide footpath.

      • Mike

        Unfortunately you’re requiring pedestrians to take their chances, too, where they can reasonably expect not to have to. Bikes on footpaths are a major disincentive to walking, however good cyclists’ motives are.

        • I imagine when you say “cyclist” you have a fairly narrow band of demographics in your mind. Basically, male in lycra.

          Is a 10 year old going at 10km/h intimidating? What about a women on a sit up bike at 20km/h? Or even a young guy on a bike at 20km/h?

          As with interaction between cars and bicycles, the issue is speed, not method of locomotion. People in cars and people on bikes need to ride to the conditions (including the other people on the street) just like the road code says.

          • Mike

            Sorry, but why you’d think that I have no idea: by “cyclists” I mean adults (of any age) on bikes (at any speed). Their place is not on the footpath, as is widely recognised by most cycling advocate bodies and others nowadays – as one city traffic engineer said to me, “shared footpaths are yesterday’s solution”..

            Cycling does need better facilities, but doing it at the expense of those already at the bottom of transport food chain makes no sense – walking is the life blood of cities, much more than cycling will ever be (even in Copenhagen, Amsterdam etc.).

          • DamianS

            Wrong analogy – forcing pedestrians and cyclists into conflict over artifically scarce space, while car drivers chuckle and keep hogging the lion’s share.

            The cyclists riding the footpath at the moment in this area are doing so because they are afraid for their lives. As simple as that. Most of them are considerate and slow (some aren’t – some share of humans are dicks no matter what vehicle or fashion of transport they use).

            Quay Street will get proper cycleways through here in the future. In the meantime, to expect families and non-road warriors to ride on Quay Street while everywhere else on the waterfront, cycleways are being built is cynical. So we all need to share a bit longer, until, as Mike correctly pointed out, shared paths are history…

          • Mike

            DamianS – I made no analogies, and I can’t see how I’m being cynical (in this case, at least!), but to think cyclists have the right to worsen the experience for pedestrians is selfish and arrogant (not to mention illegal).

            The road is a dangerous place. but transferring that danger to innocent third parties using the most sustainable transport mode, essential for any city to function, is not a sign of a “liveable city”.

          • DamianS

            So it is selfish and arrogant for cyclists to not want to risk their lives in a hostile environment that they have asked for to be changed for decades? Sorry, I disagree. Slow-speed cycling on the footpath is an appropriate response here when the traffic environment only gives you two other choices – risk your life or turn around.

          • Mike

            “So it is selfish and arrogant for cyclists to not want to risk their lives in a hostile environment that they have asked for to be changed for decades?” – when they effectively take it out on innocent bystanderrs (bywalkers?), I can’t think of any better words to describe it.

            “Slow-speed cycling on the footpath is an appropriate response here when the traffic environment only gives you two other choices – risk your life or turn around” – and gives the people already occupying the space legally no choice at all but to accept the intrusion and its consequences.

            Cyclists always have some sort of choice (at its most basic, whether to ride or not), walkers rarely do, and it’s a very sad world when cyclists take advantage of that vulnerability. It also reduces the political clout – if all the cyclists are on the footpath, it could easily be inferred that there’s no demand for segregated facilities – so you run the severe risk of not getting them, and consigning yourself (and others) to sub-standard facilities in the long term. Hardly sensible!

          • “as one city traffic engineer said to me, “shared footpaths are yesterday’s solution”..” – Well it is nice that the engineers say that, but we at Cycle Action constantly ask for the city not to build shared paths and yet that is almost invariably what is on offer.

            Usually because anything else will lead to road space being taken away from cars for parking or driving – and that is the real sacred cow in Auckland. Just look at furor over the Northcote cycle facilities or the Beaumont Street situation. The usual “compromise” put to people cycling is, you guessed it, shared paths.

            I really don’t think that people cycling at a slow speed is a risk to anyone. Bicycles don’t kill and maim people, cars do.

          • Mike

            “Usually because anything else will lead to road space being taken away from cars for parking or driving – and that is the real sacred cow in Auckland” – precisely, so why are you proposing that cyclists do the same to pedestrians, at the same time removing the apparent need for the facilities that we all seek?

            “I really don’t think that people cycling at a slow speed is a risk to anyone. Bicycles don’t kill and maim people, cars do.” – actually bicycles do (but not nearly to the same extent), but they also inconvenience pedestrians, making walking less pleasant – and the law’s on my side, for good reason.

            It’s your call if you wish to further your cause by reducing the size of the perceived problem without actually doing anything about it, by transferring the risk from yourself to people who would otherwise be your natural allies, by avoiding the real issue, and by breaking the law.

          • goosoid,

            >> Well it is nice that the engineers say that, but we at Cycle Action constantly ask for the city not to build shared paths and yet that is almost invariably what is on offer.

            Yes, it is a rotten offer. Now if only there were some sort of advocacy group that might try to do something about it…

            I confess, it is unsettling to repeatedly hear from CAA that whatever AT offers is the final word, and our task as people interesting in better bicycle provisioning is to rationalise and accept it, because you asked nicely and yet again it didn’t stick. All I’m saying is that AT’s substandard position should be the starting point — not the inevitable conclusion — of any negotiation or public advocacy.

          • Non-motorist – Must be nice to be able to sit and snipe from the sidelines rather than actually volunteer any free time to try and change things. I must give it a try sometime.

    • Josh

      Well is that not the stupidest thing ever? Forcing cyclist onto a death trap at that point…

  • Chris Randal

    Stupid to reroute the Airbus Express.

    Another example of AT either not giving the full information or not considering all the consequences of their decisions.

    • Nick R

      Why is it stupid? Still stops in exactly the same places, and might even be faster at peak times.

      • Humpers

        Really stupid. Airport-bound will have to do a dog-leg around Britomart, going through an additional set of lights. It can already take over 20 minutes to get up Queen street because of the useless phasing of traffic lights, often it’s longer to go from the Ferry Building to K’ Rd than it is from K’Rd to the airport.

        another example of AT not really having a clue. Why? Because they don’t use the service.

        • Sailor Boy

          Don’t see why AT should care about a specific set of private vehicles any more than other groups. Airbus express is only slow up Queen Street because we allow cars there anyway.

  • BBC

    Does this mean the whole Quay Street end of the wharf is now basically a huge U-shaped road to and from the ferry building? Personally I think cars should simply be banned altogether, which is what I understand Waterfront Auckland have wanted all along, however, AT have required that cars have access.

    • Nik

      Over time I think we’ll end up with less cars in and around the city centres, not only the cbd, but also other centres. I doubt it’ll happen faster enough for some and too fast for others. I doubt the journey will be smooth.

      I’m looking forward to more people around making a more inhabitated place.

      • BBC

        Actually AT is planning for no further growth in cars in the city centre, i.e. that we’ll have what we have now and no more. Of course, that’s assuming Government policies such as the AWHC and forcing businesses like SkyCity to build thousands of car parks don’t eventuate and don’t continue. There will certainly be more and more people and a resultant demand that priority is turned back to people rather than just cars.

    • Neil

      Remember that Queens Wharf is now the Cruise Ship terminal. Access is needed for cars and taxis collecting passengers and maintenance staff coming to work on the ships. There also needs to be access for tour buses.

      • DamianS

        And all that is retained. Just with better pedestrian / cyclist convenience and safety. Seems fair to me – if you are going to drive, you can pay for that luxury with a few seconds or minutes extra.

  • KLK

    Serious question. Why are there cars on QW at all?

    • DamianS

      Because there is (was) a perception that you can’t have a ferry terminal / event space / cruise ship terminal without super-convenient car access.

      I mean, how would our cruise visitors know they have arrived in “Auckland: City of Cars” unless they were welcomed properly?

      No serious – see first sentence. There is a default assumption in NZ that such facilities NEED good car access, or they will not work. Despite evidence to the contrary. So cheers for AT and the other Council agencies on pushing back a bit on this.

  • Peter

    Its good to see AT do something “tomorrow night” instead of “in 2018″ or some other ludicrous amount of time in the future and when it comes to that long-awaited date just postpone it for even longer possibly without even giving a new date. Things are looking up…

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