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Mt Albert Town Centre Upgrade

With the projects that Auckland Transport has planned the Mt Albert town centre will be one the best connected in all of Auckland for public transport. With the CRL the train station will only be 10-15 minutes from the centre of town. The proposed new bus network also sees the four frequent bus routes pass through the town centre including:

  • New North Rd from Avondale to town
  • Crosstown to city via the western suburbs before heading out to Onehunga
  • Crosstown service from Pt Chevalier to Glen Innes via Orakei
  • Crosstown service from Pt Chevalier Beach to Sylvia Park

While public transport from there will be fantastic in coming years the town centre itself can feel a little neglected and overly dominated by vehicles. The Albert-Eden Local Board want to change that and are consulting on a plan to do just that.

Mt Albert Town Centre Upgrade

The Albert-Eden Local Board is upgrading the Mt Albert town centre and wants to hear your thoughts on the design. The town centre upgrade is a key project for the board and the aim is to create high-quality, attractive and safe streetscape, that provides a significant increase in pedestrian amenity for the community to enjoy and more opportunity for local businesses, including street-based trading. The proposed improvements include enhanced pedestrian connections to the recently upgraded train station, via an overbridge, to encourage the use of public transport.

Key design features:

  • Wide footpaths.
  • Improved safety on Carrington Rd.
  • 106 public car parks retained.
  • More cycling infrastructure.
  • Ten new trees, to replace five trees being removed.
  • New paving and street furniture.
  • Improved bus travel times.

This is the first stage of the Mt Albert town centre upgrade, which is an important project for the area and we want to make sure the town centre is not only enhanced, but future-proofed to make sure it retains its character and vibrancy. Regular users of Mt Albert Town Centre are being asked for feedback and this will help finalise the design. Feedback will be gathered online and at the open day. Once the design has been finalised and approved we will begin looking for a contractor to carry out the work and plan to have construction completed by August 2016.

Not everything on the plan will be built straight away. The immediate works proposed include widening the footpaths through the town centre by removing the odd slip lane/ parking lane on the Northwestern side. Other aspects of the proposal don’t have firm dates.

Mt Albert Town Centre Upgrade - stages

Here are some cross sections of what’s planned for the streets.

Mt Albert Town Centre Upgrade - NN Rd South 2

Mt Albert Town Centre Upgrade - Carrington Rd

Mt Albert Town Centre Upgrade - NN Rd North Plaza 2

I like that the current slip lane is proposed to make way for a plaza area

One of the projects for the future is to build a new bridge across to the train station – which was designed with this in mind. They will also eventually turn the carpark into public open space.

Mt Albert Town Centre Upgrade - future plaza

There are a couple of things that I think need to be improved. The key one of these is the lack of bus lanes which will be critical given the number of buses that will pass through here, this especially on Carrington Rd. I love the wide 6m+ footpaths in the town centre but also wonder if there’s a possibility for cycle lanes on New North Rd

What do you think, what do you like or dislike – and if this affects you don’t forget to make a submission.

38 comments to Mt Albert Town Centre Upgrade

  • Lord Maths

    Why don’t they expand the carpark on the western edge (maybe create a multi-storey one) so they can strip the on-street carparks out for buslanes/cycle lanes?

  • Christopher T

    One might have hoped for a more seamless physical integration between bus and rail services. It’s a hard one, but that wait crossing the signalised intersection at Mt Albert/Carrington/New North Roads can be enormously frustrating, particularly given that current off-peak frequencies of New North Road/Outer Link buses (4/hour) and Western Line trains (2/hour) work against the idea of an easily-used, integrated network. Hopefully results from the new Central Suburbs bus network consultation will inform the detailed design phase.

  • Daryl

    I’d vote for protected separated cycle lanes throughout the village center. Then look to extending to kingsland, Avondale and pt chev.

  • greysheim

    The ACN has a proposed cycleway running parallel to the rail line but surely there’s scope for cycle lanes on NNR too?

  • The Real Matthew

    Why oh why does AT insist on trying to congest our roads and create dangerous situations by insisting on having on-street parking on major roads? The outer lanes should not be clearways off peak, the road should be a dedicated two lane road in both directions.

    6 metre footpaths? WTF for? Are they expecting pedestrian traffic to rival Queen Street? Or is this a plan to open up footpath space to restaurant’s/cafe’s (like Auckland needs more of those) so the Council can charge extortionate fees to entrepreneurs for the usage of the area?

    And why Mt Albert? There is nothing in Mt Albert to bring people to the area. I would have thought this area would be low priority unless there are long term plans to establish a boutique shopping area or some other unique attraction.

    • Lord Maths

      Boston Bakery does great pies

      The chinese supermarket down the road does good food

      Used to be the only place to buy burek in Auckland

    • Ari

      On-street parking actually slows down traffic and reduces the average speed, thus making the road generally safer.
      Removing the on-street parking does allow you to put in bus lanes and what not, but it also increases the average speed of cars, making the road more dangerous.

      • Lord Maths

        Speed doesn’t cause accidents any more than dressing in a miniskirt causes rapes.

        Faster is better. Stop blaming speed for motorist incompetence.

      • Parked cars are however quite dangerous to cyclists. Having a door opened on you, regardless of your speed, is decidedly unpleasant. Unless you like a massive dump of adrenaline and mental terror.

  • Bryce P

    I simply don’t understand the absence of cycle lanes along NNR in these designs. A cycle network only exists where people on bikes can access all the places people in cars or on foot can access.

  • Alex F

    I travel through Mt Albert along New North Road almost everyday. It’s in desperate need of rework. Firstly glad to see that awful slip lane on the northern side being removed! Such a waste of space. Secondly those additional on-street parking spaces on both sides of the street are a hazard and I’m glad they’re being removed. Retaining the clearway will help in the busy periods although in my opinion since AT plans to retain a frequent bus route along the entire of New North Road (parallel to the train route) there should be bus lanes instead. And better cycling facilities is a must, there is space for lanes.
    Can’t wait sooner for something positive to be done in Mt Albert.

  • Sort of.

    Would be nice to know how much AT spend on these type of projects that never go anywhere…

  • Graeme Easte,

    Matthew questions why a benighted place like Mount Albert is worthy of attention. We are planning for a better future rather than accepting the present rather run-down state of the village. Mount Albert has been in long term decline ever since the opening of Saint Lukes Mall just over 1.5km away. While Council and the Local Board cannot do it all (i.e. invest in privately owned properties) the Local Board has made revival of the Mount Albert Town Centre its No. 1 priority, hoping to stimulate businesses and property owners to invest there by making the public spaces more liveable and attractive. So far the Local Board has spent about $1.2million and several years of painful negotiations acquiring a key site and allocated a similar sum to build a pedestrian bridge directly linking the rail station to the main street. While the proposed town square will have to wait until existing leases over the site are resolved, the rest of the town centre upgrade is set to happen in 2016. The consultation referred to above is the outcome of years of discussion with locals and is a final chance to comment on the plans before the works go out to tender early in the new year.

    • Sort of.

      Thanks Graeme ,

      though you did not respond to me directly, I did not know this project is about a better future. Great the local council board are investing rate payers money to compete with an international shopping developer. This needs to happen everywhere.
      Of course anyone familiar with the area will know at all times on the weekends it can take up to 10 mins to get past the New North Road / Richardson Road junction because one parked car takes the road down to one lane northbound just before the intersection. With the Carrington Road junction being far more busy this project will be certainly interesting to watch…

      Arterial roads, too much damn traffic…

    • stu

      Thanks for your hard work Graeme. Glad to see that Carrington Rd will be upgraded in the first stage. The narrow footpath between the lights and the station entrance is a significant safety issue – especially during school commuting hours.

      • Glen

        Thanks Graeme from me too. As an occasional visitor to Mt Albert (love Triniti of Silver!) and user of the train station, the Carrington Rd footpath and the pedestrian bridge directly linking New North Road to the rail station are the highest priorities for me. Glad to hear Carrington Rd is being seen to – when will the bridge be built? 2016, or later? I’ve heard conflicting stories about when it’s starting…

        Also like removing the slip lane to create public space, but time and space for so much more!

  • Nick

    1. There doesn’t seem to be much improved integration between buses and trains. In fact the bus stop at the ANZ has been moved further away.
    2. The holy cow of on street parking remains! Time for some leadership here and some home truths for retailers – i.e. way more people (and potential customers) in the future will be interchanging in Mt Albert on trains, buses and on bike than in private cars. And these people buy stuff too. Keeping on street parking means buses will continue to crawl through Mt Albert and there’s no room for bike lanes. On street parking takes out a lane but when someone is trying to reverse into a park, it effectively takes out two.

  • B Wright

    The plans for the most part look pretty good – pity about the long time frames for a lot of it and am surprised by lack of cycle lanes and bus priority. I am waiting for the apartment building boom in and around the shops once the pesky NIMBYs are sidelined – though how long that will take is anyone’s guess.

  • BBC

    I find it hard to see how it will not remain car dominated when SIX-lane intersections are proposed – that’s insane! Has the rest of the world not taught NZ anything, if you want to reduce traffic simply remove all those lanes and replace them with footpaths and cycle lanes. People will simply not drive or take another route. I also don’t see how the frequent bus networks will work well with absolutely no bus priority.

    Nice to see some claw back from what is currently a pretty run down and car choked place, but much like Pt Chev, it will remain this was unless AT and AC actually have some guts and get rid of the car priority inherent in this design.

    • Ricardo

      If all roads were to be treated as you suggest there won’t be any ‘alternatiuve routes’. Lots of complaints on this blog about NIMBYS when it comes to property but isn’t your argument about roading the same? A roading NIMBY issue? Roads have to go somewhere or we go back to the dark ages.

  • Sadly, while it will be nicer, this design is still the same auto-priority path dependency that got us into this mess. The BBC is right; over scaled intersections are a traffic inducing disaster.

    Mt Albert is an urban Transit station, not one out on the fringes, so we all look forward to that carpark becoming the great scaled and placed urban square that it should be. With the bridge to the station it’ll be highly activated; small urban public spaces like this should work well.

    It really isn’t hard. To stop the monster growing we just have to stop feeding it the sugar it grows bloated and destructive on: space. Too much Tarmac.

    Great to see footpath improvements, however.

  • KLK

    A town centre in which they want to “create high-quality, attractive and safe streetscape, that provides a significant increase in pedestrian amenity for the community to enjoy”

    Answer: 6 lanes of traffic.

    You don’t have to be an urban planner to realize how dumb that is. Who are these people?

  • Hein

    My first thought was, where are the bike lanes on New North road?… Seems like a fairly important road to place bike lanes along and if you’re not going to do it now during a redesign, well then when are you going to do it?

    Otherwise, it’ll definitely go like this: Fast forward 5 years… “Oh. Yeah. We really should’ve put bike lanes along New North Road while we were ripping it up anyway through Mt. Albert. Hmmm Whoops”

  • Assuming it’s not possible to change minds and reduce the amount of lanes, 3 – 3.2 meters is way too much space and encourages motorists to speed. They could reduce lane widths and dedicate the remainder to cycle paths.

  • Ted F

    Could someone from the design team recommend how a bicycle rider using the Great North Road would negotiate this area please?

  • Graeme Easte,

    Look carefully at the plans – there are no 6 lanes anywhere. There are 2 through lanes in each direction on New North Road suplemented with turning pockets for right turning cars with capacity for 5-6 cars each. On Carrington Road a whole traffic lane is being taken out to allow introduction of cycle lanes in both directions and a much wider footpath on the south (railway station) side; i.e. the overbridge will go from 2 lanes in each direction to one lane westbound and two eastbound (to allow stacking at the lights). There is no intention to strip out all the car parking but a significant reduction is proposed. Please read the plans carefully and submit – if you cannot make it to the open day this Saturday most of the material is on line and submissions are open for another three weeks.

    • Ricardo

      Thanks for pointing out the facts Graeme, too many jump to conclusions – and that is why there are knee jerk reactions and attacks on AT etc.

  • Evan James

    What is failing to impress the locals is the fact that the outer ring bus services have been slated for the chop. This a well used service that connects Point Chevalier with St Lukes on a “you don’t have to look up a timetable basis”. One of its benefits is its ability to connect the two major medical facilities that are split between the two, with the White Cross medical centre at St Lukes but the lab for the blood tests etc is at Pt Chev

    • “What is failing to impress the locals is the fact that the outer ring bus services have been slated for the chop”

      This is incorrect. The route of the current OuterLink service is being modified and renamed. It will then connect with additional Cross Town Routes that are being introduced.

  • Hi Transport Blog! Would you possibly be able to review the updated plans? Debate is raging on the Mt Albert Community Facebook page, as a business owner is outraged that he will lose carparks directly outside his business. Pretty typical stuff really, but now lots of members of the community are like “oh wow I didn’t realise this is what’s happening”, even though many of us made submissions (94% positive) and bike lanes are now running straight through (yay!). I think it would so helpful if you could review the new plans, detailing the masses of car parking still available, and the many benefits, as the business owner is really scaremongering and I don’t want him to derail this long awaited upgrade! Thanks! 🙂

    • Alex F

      I’ve seen the plans for Mt Albert Village and they look great! The businesses can moan all they like, they have no claim to the on-street parking spaces and if they rely so much on car parks on the street to survive, their business model is completely wrong. The car parks on the road are a hazard not just motorists but to pedestrians too and should be removed entirely. The slip road on the NW side of New North Road is going too – about time too, complete waste of space!

      Cycling lanes on New North Road is definitely a step up from the original plan!

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