Not a new flag design [not bad though]. No this is a some seriously significant tarmac for Auckland. Why so? FANSHAWE ST BUSLANES_8083 The 28th of April 2014 is proving to be a bit of a red letter day for the minor revolution that is sneaking up on Auckland: The revitalisation of Auckland as a Transit city. Of course it marks the beginning of our new electric trains in ordinary service, but also another, smaller, much cheaper, but arguably just as significant change begins today: Northbound bus lanes on almost all of Fanshawe St. How could anything as boring as buslanes; patches of garish green crystals on existing Macadam be so significant, especially compared to the arrival of the long awaited electric trains?

FANSHAWE ST red and green
Red and Green: what could be better?

Well because they represent a new nimbler Auckland Transport. Able to act fast on good ideas, willing to listen to suggestions from outside their usual processes, and one looking significantly more interested in serving all road users and not just those single occupant car drivers. Here’s a little history: Luke’s post from February this year started the ball rolling, caught the attention of many at AT, particularly the Chairman of the Board and, waddayaknow? Action. And now: Done.

Take a bow Auckland Transport.

And now we know quick fixes can be done, so we look forward to many more like this one, I’m sure our readers have many more in mind. To start I guess the obvious one is the need to link these new bus lanes in Fanshawe St with the ones on the Central Connector through Customs St……

Street crystal joy

Also this is a good opportunity to point out another good recent upgrade; what it says on the back of that City Link Bus: Higher frequencies to Wynyard Quarter, an increase in freedom now amplified by this increase in road priority on this route with the new bus lanes. Imagine anyone using the Onehunga Line to get Wynyard Quarter must be feeling triple the love from AT today!

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  1. Great that they moved so quickly – AT deserve encouragement.
    Took the Red link this morning, one bummer is the mandatory stand down period at Britomart. Casual 7min break not welcome in morning rush.

        1. They do wait at Wynyard too, but the source of unreliability is Queen St for the most part, so they have to allow time at Britomart to avoid leaving early.

          1. The source of unreliability is having a schedule. These buses should be sufficiently frequent to not need a schedule and hence no need for a timekeeping stop. There are numerous cities with such city-link style services sufficiently frequent to just keep on running. The high frequency and lack of waiting is a big draw and increases ridership sufficiently to justify the extra buses (as long as they are marketed correctly so that people know how reliable they are).

          2. The City Link doesn’t have a timetable, and run very high frequencies already, but they still need timekeeping.

            All those other cities’ frequent lines will have a running schedule, even if they don’t have a published timetable. A shedule is absolutely essential for reliability and timekeeping stops are necessary to maintain spacing between the buses.

            If you don’t have one it would only take a hour or so before you have six buses bunched together in a line then nothing for an hour.

      1. Wish the bus driver knew that the break was for timekeeping. Always frustrating when in a link bus that is behind the scheduled departure time and a bus driver who wants his 5 minute break!

      2. Queen St bus lanes look like a fairly straight forward move and one that needs to happen in order to give the Albert St buses somewhere to go when the CRL is being built, as well as to allow the very busy City Link buses and others to move there with reliability and efficiency.

        The key to making it work really well, it seems to me, is to remove the right turn option from Queen into Shortland, Wyndam, Victoria, and Wellesley. This frees up so much road space, and time at the lights for other movements. American Cities routinely remove left [cross traffic] turning in central city streets in order to free up road space and reduce accidents- especially vehicles moving unexpectedly from pedestrians’ blind spots. This will also continue the recent trend of drivers not entering Queen St at all, as has been happening for years and surely a good thing. Best if it is maximised for deliveries, Transit, and most of all people. Right hand turns into Queen will surely be going soon too- from Victoria when the street is narrowed, and from Wellesley as it becomes a a bus boulevard.

        In fact it would then be possible to build Melbourne style passenger loading Islands for one direction on Queen at each intersection [The direction heading into the intersection. So boarding can happen while buses are waiting at the lights], and the buses have the central lanes, leaving the outer lanes for local traffic, especially deliveries and taxis, to stop and start.

        The widest part of the street, south of Wellesley, outside the civic, can then have a long boarding islands [or just one continuous island for boarding in one direction] for all the buses there AND widened footpaths, probably on the east side, anyway both footpaths can be de-cluttered by the removal of bus paraphernalia. Better again for deliveries and taxis and of course people walking or hangout, cafe tables, whatever. The ‘carriageway’ part of the street gets reduced and broken up, but also gets ordered more efficiently. The footpaths can become more enhanced people places with less movement burden. And of course this was how it was used in the tram era. Essentially this is allowing the buses to be more ‘tramlike’; not leaving their lane, and having more priority when moving

        The northern, narrower end of Queen is not so well suited to central bus lanes while also trying to fit full general traffic lanes and loading/parking bays, so perhaps buses transition to the outside bus lanes at Victoria street intersection on a bus priority signal?

        This is essentially an incremental programme to transition Queen St to becoming a Transit Mall: for people and Transit and deliveries only. Almost certainly more achievable and effective than a sudden jump to blocking cars overnight…?

    1. At least you have something to look at while you are waiting. Birkenhead Transport pull the same stunt in the backblocks of Glenfield. Boring!!!!

  2. Excellent work!

    Now how about putting a couple of traffic cones out at the Shortland St end of High St every day between 10am and 10pm?

  3. Ah, the wonders of political pressure. Usually it is applied the other way. I wonder how it will work this afternoon… or rather, friday afternoon next week. I’m not sure how much improvement you will actually see.

  4. I’m full of ideas. First up is a hurricane force wind & rain shelter at the bus stop at the bottom of Albert St opposite Downtown with plenty of seats. It is a very busy stop and the wind whistles under the over bridge connecting Downtown to the car park both in summer & winter.

    1. Well of course these bus lanes are ‘to the ‘burbs’. Like the CRL, anything that speeds Transit through the centre improves life for those thousands and thousands heading to and from their suburban destinations. But get your point, more bus lanes everywhere are required, though it’s not a bad idea to start where heaps are being held up, and where often there are multiple lanes available.

  5. They have also improved the intersection of Victoria St and Hardinge St for pedestrians
    with an island and extended footpath (next to Telecom HQ).

        1. Well AT are responsible for the roading and whether anything can take place, there’s a lot of push back on most plans/ideas from the local boards that involve anything that prioritises pedestrians/cyclists over cars i.e. anything that will lower their calculated level of service for the street which is based purely on maximising SOV speed and throughput.

  6. On topic, bus lane nice this morning when I took a NEX from Britomart.

    Off topic, watched as people boarded a NEX at the Victoria Park Fanshawe street bus stop in this afternoon’s peak and every single person of the many who boarded tagged on with HOP bar the last pax. Nice. Also bitched to the bus driver of NEX at Britomart this morning when a non-HOP pax held up about ten HOP-paying pax from boarding. Said it was his responsibility to ask that that pax to stand to the left so HOP-paying pax could still board and he could get his bus fully boarded in good time. It’s not the pax’s fault, they’re genuinely ignorant. It’s up to the bus drivers to educate non HOP pax to stand to the left.

  7. Absolutely amazing trip home with the Fanshawe St bus lane. I’m home to Birkenhead in under 12 minutes. No excuse for driving now. This is what public transport should be like.

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