What is the pilot?

    The Wai Horotiu Queen Street Valley Pilot is one of a series of trials to test the principles of Access for Everyone - a City Centre Masterplan concept that reshapes how city centre streets are used, so more street space is given to people walking, cycling, using public transport, and delivering and servicing homes and buildings. This pilot is the first in a series of stages to improve Queen Street for everyone, and will contribute to the transformation of our city centre to put people at the heart and create a greener, safer, better connected city centre for all.

    What is Access for Everyone and why is it important?

    There is increasing demand for space in our city centre, so we need to help people travel to and within the city centre more efficiently. We also want to help create a better quality of life for current and future generations, so the quality and uses of street space needs to improve. We’re shifting from a ‘go-through’ to a ‘go-to’ city centre, a place we can all be proud of, and one that puts people first. Access for Everyone shapes all city centre projects and programmes. For more information on Access for Everyone, visit the City Centre Masterplan website.

    What will be piloted?

    The pilot will use tactical urbanism interventions – which are quick, temporary and low-cost – to trial different ways to use the space that is available on Queen Street. The space will be prioritised for walking, cycling, disabled people, public transport users, emergency vehicles, and vehicles servicing businesses and residents (such as delivery vehicles).

    Are the emergency works on Queen Street the same thing as the Wai Horotiu Queen Street Valley Pilot?

    No. The emergency measures were installed quickly in Queen Street for physical distancing as a COVID-19 health measure. 

    Separate to this, an Access for Everyone pilot was endorsed by the Planning Committee. The pilot seeks to create more space for people, and to improve their experience on Queen Street. It made sense to use the findings from the COVID-19 emergency works as a base for the pilot. 

    Unlike the emergency works, the pilot will use a co-design process involving the Queen St community in the design and installation. 

    What is the time frame for the pilot?

    The Wai Horotiu Queen St Valley Pilot commenced in July 2020 and physical changes will be in place by July 2021. 

    What is the cost of the pilot?

    The Queen St A4E pilot budget comes from the combined Innovating Streets grant of up to $1m and the City Centre Targeted Rate allocation of $600k.

    What is the role of co-design and how will it work?

    Co-design is used to ensure that what we eventually create will be something that Queen Street users want, and that meets the needs of lots of different users. 

    It involves a diverse range of Queen Street users such as businesses, residents, commuters, street users, Mana Whenua, the Waitematā Local Board and membership organisations (Heart of the City, City Centre Residents Group, Auckland City Centre Advisory Board). 

    Through co-design we use lots of different engagement techniques – such as surveys, workshops, and street observations – to understand the way people use the street and feel about it. 

    Once we understand the problem areas, we will work with users to brainstorm and imagine ways to fix the problem and make Queen Street better. Once we have possible solutions, we make them and test them through installations and activations. 

    There will be some ‘givens’ that the co-design process must work within (e.g. it must allow for safe and reliable bus movements) but the co-design process will come up with the designs and solutions.

    What is tactical urbanism?

    Tactical Urbanism Initiatives (TUI) are a design approach that uses temporary interventions to deliver lighter, quicker, cheaper changes to roads and streets.

    It allows ideas to be tried out and for changes to be made quickly. It is a cumulative and iterative process - findings from one stage of TUI inform subsequent stages and can shape a permanent scheme. 

    Since 2017, Auckland Council and AT have used TUI in the city centre, transforming Sale Street, Federal StreetHigh Street and Queen Street – the latter in response to COVID-19.  

    TUI is often implemented using a co-design process. This is a system of engagement to deliver mutually beneficial outcomes for the people that use the space. 

    For more on Tactical Urbanism read Simon Wilson's piece in the herald here.

    What's the financial benefit of tactical urbanism?

    As a low-cost way to deliver street changes, TUI can help reduce the impacts of budget constraints and can provide an interim solution until longer term funding is available for permanent changes.  

    What relationship does this pilot have to the City Rail Link construction and the closing of Victoria St?

    We are beginning this pilot now because in 2021, following the reopening of the Wellesley and Albert Street Intersection, the Victoria and Albert Street intersection will close for around 18 months to allow for further Aotea CRL Station construction. This significant network change will require some buses to be temporarily diverted onto Queen Street and gives us the opportunity to see Queen Street become a people and public transport priority street. 

    To accommodate the additional bus movements on Queen Street, it would help to have less general traffic on Queen Street, and this would also help improve the amenity of the area for pedestrians. There are a number of ways to discourage unnecessary through traffic and manage the remaining vehicle access, and this will be worked through as part of the co-design process. 

    Why not keep two lanes each way on Queen St to accommodate extra buses instead of restricting general traffic?

    The City Centre Masterplan has since 2012 identified Queen St as a low traffic, pedestrian-focused street and the upcoming network change gives us the opportunity to start to reduce traffic volumes and improve the pedestrian experience on Queen St. 

    Data from observing traffic in Queen Street since February 2020 also shows us that having more lanes operating along Queen Street does not reduce journey times significantly, but restricting traffic does.   

    Why not divert buses onto Albert St instead of Queen Street?

    Albert Street is currently closed or restricted in many places due to City Rail Link (CRL) works and is expected to reopen to traffic and buses at the lower end, between Wyndham Street and Customs Street by the end of 2020. Whilst the long-term intention is to route buses on Albert Street, CRL works at Aotea Station will prevent buses from using Albert Street in full until 2023-2024. Many buses will be able to travel southbound along Albert Street when Victoria Street closes in 2021, however buses won’t be able to travel northbound on Albert Street until 2023 -2024. Queen Street is the most suitable temporary alternative and is also where most people on buses are heading to and from.    

    What about air quality on Queen Street?

    Before COVID-19 there were around 7,000 vehicles per day running on Queen Street. Reducing general traffic will improve air quality. Although bus volumes will temporarily be higher than normal, bus volumes are a fraction of total traffic. In addition, AT are introducing a fully electric fleet of buses to the City Link in 2021, this will mean that by mid 2021 more than half of the buses travelling down Queen Street will be electric, improving air quality further.  

    What is the plan for Queen Street beyond the pilot?

    A business case will be prepared by Auckland Transport to investigate all the workstreams needed to implement Access for Everyone and to seek more funding to continue the work started by the pilot. The pilot is the first in a series of stages to improve Queen Street for everyone. With additional funding we can continue to work with the Queen Street community to make the permanent changes needed to achieve the Queen Street that is envisaged by the City Centre Masterplan.

    The City Centre Masterplan presents a vision for Wai Horotiu Valley to become central zone of the Access for Everyone (A4E) concept, prioritising pedestrians. A low-emission zone will be achieved in Waihorotiu Valley by removing unnecessary traffic and freeing up road space for public transport, deliveries, emergency services and for people with limited mobility.

    This vision is presented in Transformational Move 3 – Waihorotiu / Queen Street Valley. Queen Street will be a vibrant pedestrian priority shopping street at the heart of Wai Horotiu Valley which will support centre-running transit (starting with buses) and become the centrepiece of a greatly expanded pedestrian priority and low emissions zone. 

    Once CRL is completed and Albert Street reopens, only a handful of electric buses will remain on Queen Street. There is ongoing work being done by a number of organisations to look at the longer-term solutions for rapid transit along Queen St.

     

    Why are we implementing a ‘multi-use path’ instead of a separated cycleway?

    • The vision for Queen Street will see the street become a destination that is an attractive walking environment, with light rail, people walking, cycling and scootering at low speed without segregated lanes for travel.
    • The Wai Horotiu Queen Street Project is the first stage to move us towards the vision, while also supporting an increased volume of buses due to CRL, servicing and loading, as well as private property access, all the while giving pedestrians priority.
    • As part of this project, we investigated options for a directional lane each side, but found that they would be frequently interrupted by bus and loading functions, and create additional barriers for pedestrians. By creating a wider buildout on one side, we can ‘bend’ the multi-use path around bus platforms and loading zones. The design work is still underway, but the proposed multi-use path would be flush with the existing footpath. This is to preserve pedestrian connectivity and accessibility, enhance the public realm, support future event functions and transition the street towards the vision in the CCMP.
    • By creating this path  we also solve the problem of e-scooters on the footpath and the potential safety issues that come with the space being shared with slower moving pedestrians.
    • A tactile trim, contrasting colour, a change in paving texture, planting, street furniture and some surface signage will all delineate the multi-use path for the safe movement of slow cyclists, scooters and people moving quickly on foot, away from slower moving pedestrians enjoying the shops and activities in the street. Cyclists travelling fast will be expected to use the road.

    Why are we not consulting on the footpath configuration and other aspects of the design?

    • Providing one full design is a change from the stage-by-stage approach we had planned to use for the design and consultation process, however we believe it is important to respond to the feedback Aucklanders have given us. 
    • The feedback from Zone 1 indicated a desire to see a complete plan for the street and how it all fits together, rather than a section-by-section design approach. There was also a clear message that the project needs to get on with delivery so people can enjoy an improved environment sooner. 
    • We also have been gathering feedback on this project since its inception in the second half of 2020 and believe we have a good idea of what Aucklanders want to see for Queen Street.
    • We have taken all of this feedback on board and have used it to develop one design for the remainder of the project area (between Shortland Street and Mayoral Drive). 

    Can you tell us more about the pedestrian mall changes?

    • Auckland Council is also proposing to change the existing pedestrian mall of Vulcan Lane, and create new pedestrian malls in short sections of Fort Street and Lorne Street. This will further prioritise pedestrians and reduce traffic into Queen Street. 
    • The current documents for Vulcan Lane, designating it a pedestrian mall, date back to the 1960s. By updating the legal designation we can cater for the needs of legitimate users of the lane and introduce measures which prohibit unauthorised cars, utes and vans from parking in the laneway.

    Does AT have a strategy for managing parking and loading in the city centre?

    Loading and servicing are critical elements of the day-to-day operation of the city centre.

    As the city centre continues to grow and develop, there will be changes to loading zones to ensure that goods can continue to be delivered during and after construction. 

    The Parking Design and Solutions team are currently developing an interim Servicing and Loading Plan for the city centre, which will be completed in draft by November 2021. The interim plan will cover the whole of the city centre, with a focus on current and upcoming construction and development works, planned network changes and stakeholder feedback. Auckland Transport is involving Heart of the City and National Road Carriers to discuss requirements and ensure that the range of loading and servicing activities are captured.

    The interim plan incorporates review periods every three months to reflect and refine the plan, as and where required. The Access for Everyone (A4E) project team will be involved in the development of the plan, to ensure shorter term efforts align with longer term planning.

    As the A4E project team establishes its programme, a more comprehensive city-wide parking management plan will be developed. Servicing and Loading will be a key feature of this plan and will take on board initial monitoring and feedback from the interim plan, as well as inputs from other emerging A4E workstreams.

    This work is expected to start in 2022 and to be developed in parallel with feedback from the interim plan.

    Why are you allowing parking and loading on Queen Street at all? It is not consistent with the CCMP.

    There is no general parking on Queen Street as Auckland Transport has recently changed them all to time-restricted loading and servicing spaces.

    This is a response to the Wai Horotiu Queen Street project and considers feedback AT has received as part of consultation on our network and interim parking and loading changes that a level of loading and servicing must be retained to ensure that businesses and people living on Queen Street can still receive goods and services.

    Why are you proposing to remove key parking spots that businesses need for couriers and deliveries, etc.?

    Although this proposed plan reduces the overall parking space available on Queen Street by two spaces, we believe that parking for goods and service vehicles, those making essential trips to support businesses and homes, will be made easier with this proposed design, as all general parking spaces along Queen Street will be turned into loading zones, freeing up the parking space for these essential trips.

    Who can use the loading zones and who can use the goods loading zones?

    Any vehicle, including goods vehicles, can use a Loading Zone (LZ) for short term parking to pick up or drop off goods or passengers. The timeframes for use vary.

    Goods Loading Zones (LZ GVO) are designed for vehicles that are used exclusively for the carriage of goods. The timeframes for use vary.

    Someone in either zone, with multiple things to unload, can go to-and-fro to/from their car/truck to unload multiple times, as long as they are away, each time, for no more than the time specified, i.e. 5 minutes or 15 minutes.

    How is Auckland Transport reducing vehicle movements on Queen Street?

    The City Centre Masterplan envisages Wai Horotiu Queen Street as a pedestrian priority area and low-emission zone, delivered by removing non-essential vehicle traffic.

    To help achieve these goals, Auckland Transport is proposing to introduce an Essential Vehicle Area (EVA) between Wellesley Street and Wakefield Street. The EVA is designed to direct discretionary, through-traffic away from Queen Street by preventing access along its full length.

    How does the Essential Vehicle Area (EVA) work?

    The EVA is for use only by buses, cycles, mopeds, motorcycles, goods and service vehicles and emergency vehicles.

    What kind of impact do you expect the EVA will have on traffic on Queen Street, i.e. how many fewer vehicles do we expect on Queen Street as a result of the EVA?

    The EVA will reduce traffic along Queen St. While modelling has not been undertaken to assess volume reductions, on-going monitoring is in place to capture the changes in volumes.

    What are its hours of operation?

    The EVAs hours of operation are part of the next stage of the Wai Horotiu Queen Street project consultation. There are two options. They are:

    • 24 hours a day, seven days a week
    • 6am to 11pm, seven days a week

    We will use public feedback to help us decide which option is put into operation.

    I make deliveries in Queen Street. How will I access loading zones on the other side of the EVA?

    As a goods and service vehicle you are able to use the EVA.

    I have limited mobility. How will I get dropped off at mobility space on the other side of the EVA?

    There are still ways of getting from one side of the city centre, and around the EVA. The following map describes how you would get around.

    If you can put in an EVA between Wellesley Street and Wakefield Street, why can you just make the whole of Queen Street an EVA?

    Currently, on Durham Street West, there are two privately-owned parking buildings to which Auckland Transport must maintain access. Durham Street West is the only access point to these parking buildings and due to the City Rail Link (CRL) works on Albert Street, Durham Street West is only accessible from Queen Street. When Albert Street reopens at the end of the CRL works it may be that access to these parking buildings can be changed to Albert Street and an EVA put in place the entire length of Queen Street. This is not possible at this time.

    In addition to this, providing continued access to some venues, such as those in the arts quarter, i.e. the Town Hall, Q Theatre, the Classic Comedy Club, etc., means we cannot exclude some classes of vehicles, like taxis and ride share vehicles, and private vehicles from parts of Queen Street.

    However, limiting the ability for vehicles to travel the entire length of Queen Street will direct traffic away from Queen St to routes better suited to their final destination.

    Queen Street will remain accessible to those vehicles dropping off or picking up passengers with limited mobility.

    What are you doing to improve enforcement on Queen Street to help reduce general traffic?

    We have two dedicated enforcement officers on Queen Street, one from Customs Street through to Wellesley Street seven days a week, and another enforcement officer that operates from Wellesley Street through to Mayoral Drive from Monday to Friday. 

    We also have a total of seven officers from Monday to Friday that cover the surrounding area, from Hobson Street in the west, to Symonds Street in the east, Customs Street in the north and Karangahape Road in the south. Three officers then cover this area in the weekends and at night. 

    From April 2020 through to end of July 2021 more than 28,000 infringements were issued for stationary vehicle offences on Queen St and immediate side streets.

    Auckland Transport are using CCTV cameras to monitor the northbound bus lane between Shortland Street and Customs Street during its hours of operation. These cameras will also capture anyone that is ignoring the right turn ban into Shortland Street. We will also use CCTV cameras to monitor the proposed Essential Vehicle Area between Wellesley Street and Wakefield Street. Anyone who is captured on these CCTV cameras for ignoring the restrictions will receive a $150 infringement fee. 

     

    How will the loading zones and goods loading zones be monitored to make sure people aren’t overstaying in them?

    Auckland Transport monitors the use of parking on Queen Street between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. Weekends are also covered by our normal patrols and we have a night shift team that works until 3am. Outside of these hours, we can respond to customer complaints.

    How many infringements for illegal parking on Queen Street have been issued to date?

    Since some of the loading zone spaces have been changed to P15 from P5, an officer must observe vehicles in loading zones for the entire 15 minutes to determine if an infringement is warranted, i.e. that no loading/unloading was undertaken and the vehicle was left unattended.

    In July, 298 infringements were issued for all offences. For loading zones, we issued 30 infringements for vehicles of the wrong class being in the Goods Vehicle Loading Zone. Seventy-nine infringements were issued for vehicles left unattended and not loading or unloading over the maximum time on the sign.

    In June, 229 infringements were issued for all offences. For loading zones, we issued 19 infringements for vehicles of the wrong class being in the Goods Vehicle Loading Zone. Forty-eight infringements were issued for vehicles left unattended and not loading or unloading over the maximum time on the sign.

    Other infringements were related to Warrant of Fitness and/or Registrations being out of date, cars overstaying time limits in time restricted spaces, vehicles parked on broken yellow lines, and/or parking without a valid paid parking ticket (around Mayoral Drive).

    How will the right turn ban out of Shortland Street be monitored? What about the right turn ban out of High Street?

    The NZ Police have the powers to enforce turning bans.

    However, Auckland Transport will be using CCTV cameras to remotely monitor the northbound bus lane between Shortland Street and Customs Street during its hours of operation. This means that users that are not permitted in the bus lane turning right from Shortland Street into Queen Street between 7am-10am and 4pm-7pm, Monday to Friday, will receive a $150 infringement fee.