One of the most frustrating intersections as a pedestrian has just got a little easier as Auckland Transport have just installed a Barnes Dance on it. The change also includes adding countdown timers to the pedestrian signals but so far perhaps one key missing ingredient is markings showing that people can cross in all directions.

Thanks AT for this upgrade and next it would be good to get some of that wonderful double phasing action going like is seen on Queen St.

New Quay Barnes
Pedestrians are not yet aware of the changes
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  1. I haven’t had a chance to go down there yet, does the barnes dance include the Quay-to-Hobson left slip lane or is that still phased separately?

    1. Was discussed on twitter that that was phased separately but activation of that crossing also activated the barnes dance for the subsequent cycle.

  2. Great news! People will eventually catch on…not the easiest intersection to identify with paint, not impossible either.

  3. Yes they need to lower the kerbs on the 3 corners as it is not obvious. The marking is less essential. The sliplane runs separate. It seems to run before and after the barnes dance, but only if you push the button in time… And half the time there are huge gaps in traffic so you can just walk across without waiting for the crossing.

  4. Won’t this mean higher wait times at the two minor roads? Or do they have extra non-barnes-dance greens as well?

    1. Not sure why they would end up with extra wait times? They get their turn just as they did before. In fact it will probably be quicker for everyone with a single Barnes rather than 4 separate pedestrian crossings to be cycled through. Regardless, cars exiting a parking building (Princes Wharf and Te Wero) are hardly an important source of traffic or one that should be prioritised over the pedestrians.

  5. In theory the minor roads will have the same wait time as before, but they will get shorter green than before because the peds arent running with those roads anymore. Pedestrian delay is probably about the same as before.

  6. Does this mean the Princes Wharf exit could now be reduced down to one lane only? And the entrance lane narrowed to match?

      1. So much superfluous space could be reclaimed in this intersection. It would increase capacity for all users.

        1. Driveways are not automatically shared zones, although they can be. If there’s a separate footpath, pedestrians are theoretically required to use it.

  7. Awesome.

    And +1 for double-phasing. Lets show that we can put people first without our city grinding to a halt!

  8. Thank God, this is a death trap on Saturday night. Up to 100 drunk people getting frustrated as 2-5 cars go through for 2 minutes, eventually give up and run the red as the taxis start exiting Princes Wharf. Disaster waiting to happen, glad this has been fixed.

  9. Well done AT! Credit where it is due. Piece by piece we build a friendlier city.

    We hope that this is only the beginning of the momentum for the change that Lester Levy has talked about…

  10. Without a properly painted diagonal crossing line design (zebra-style or the entire area over-sprayed in red chip), this Barnes Dance remains invisible.

    1. Yes it is a barnes dance and I’ve both seen the signals in action and have been told by people in the know. There are also lots of other barnes dance crossings that don’t have the X (but that should), this includes the Customs/Queen intersection which is one of the busiest.

      1. It isn’t a barnes dance without the X. This isn’t a case of it just not being marked. It’s clearly not intended to be used in that manner, as the curbs haven’t been altered, nor bollards / tree / lights moved. It’s a four-way crossing, not a barnes dance (which is six-way).

        1. You can keep saying it as much as you like but it isn’t correct. I have had it confirmed by numerous people from AT that this is now a barnes dance. I was also told the signals are the quick and easy part but the physical changes (including paint) take more time but will happen eventually.

        2. When they make those changes it will be a barnes dance, but calling it that now doesn’t make it so. There’s absolutely none of the X walk features present that make a barnes dance.

        3. The defining feature of a barnes dance is that the lights allow you to cross diagonally. These liggts allow this. They are a barnes dance

    2. Couple of others that don’t have markings (although some are only T intersections they have all sides cross at once)

      Queen/Victoria doesn’t have it on every leg
      Customs/Fort/Britomart Pl (doesn’t even have one of the sides marked even though it’s a barnes dance)

  11. Good news. Hopefully the rest of that pedestrian island gets filled with red bricks and as mentioned before the curbs get lowered.

  12. Does needs double phasing. Only cycled about every 2 minutes, this was at 5pm yesterday. Hopefully much better off-peak in weekends, but I doubt it.
    Princes Wharf and Te Wero Island entrances need much less priority and more green time as well. However I can see this being difficult with concerns about people turning into these streets blocking Hobson St. Solution could unfortunately be adding third lane to Hobson St so people not heading to Quay St can get stuck at a red light while there is a green arrow for the main movements. To make up for this lane can be removed from Hobson opposite Princes Wharf, as well as one less on the signalized slip lane. Of course Princes wharf access should go down to 2 lanes as well.

    1. I’ve always thought they should alternate Princess Wharf and the Te Wero phases so they only run ‘every 2nd time’ which would free up a phase for the additional Barnes dance. Eg. Quay/Hobson, Barnes dance, Princes wharf, barnes, Quay/Hobson, Barnes, Te Wero, Barnes, etc.

      Might have simplified the full cycle but the concept is that Princes and The Wero should give up a phase as they’re low priority vs pedestrians and the main roads.

  13. The way it is running now, the two minor streets only seem to get 5s of green anyway. So if you only run them every second time you arent really saving much time.

    So which intersection do we ask for next?

    1. Well, don’t most green men only show for 4 seconds so perfect fit? Obviously ‘amber time’ doesn’t equate between the 2 but I think it would be the best redistribution of time given the relative numbers of people and need to allocate cycle time carefully.

      Next for me would be Queen and Mayoral and I’d chop something from Queen and Custom (perhaps right turn out of Queen or even halve the Queen phases) so that can be simplified and time made for a double Barnes.

  14. This may be a stupid question, but surely having a barnes dance must increase the wait time for pedestrians? Rather than having a situation where pedestrian crossings on different legs of the junction can go green whenever there is an opportunity, a barnes dances imposes an artificial restriction that they can only turn green when all the other legs can turn green too. Unless I’ve missed something, this has to in general result in greater wait times.

    1. No increase in wait times. Each vehicle phase gets reduced by 1/4 of the Barne’s Dance phase, so pedestrians have the same wait as they previously had for their “leg” to have it’s turn. If it removes the delay for left-turning vehicles waiting for peds to cross (such as at Albert St/Fanshawe St), it could potentially be a win/win for bus users too.

  15. Greg, Traffic Engineer Henry Barnes made them famous in NYC. Because of Barnes, people were “dancing” in the streets. Perhaps he was the Sadik-Khan of his day.

    Nick, yes, the barnes dance increases wait time for pedestrians if you are only crossing one branch of the intersection. The time saving is only where you have a high diagonal crossing demand. It is mainly a safety improvement as opposed to an efficiency improvement. Removing conflicts with vehicles and reducing footpath over-crowding. The trade off is longer wait times, increasing the chances of pedestrians getting impatient, running heedless of traffic and getting killed. It does depend on the intersection though. In this case it isnt too much of an issue because two branches are very quiet.

    SteveD/Sailor Boy, Princes Wharf is private land, not public road. It is essentially a huge driveway full of cars and some people on the side. So I don’t think the road rules strictly apply. Because it is built like a ‘road’, vehicles have ‘right of way’. It would be up to the owner (Waterfront Auckland?) to do something about it. I think it is a grey area and you are both right. It is a driveway, so it is shared space by default, but I don’t know if anything has been challenged legally if some driver ran a pedestrian over.

    1. > So I don’t think the road rules strictly apply.

      The road rules apply anywhere that the public have access to, including on private land that’s open to the public at the time. But all the important terms like “driveway”, “roadway”, “shared zone”, “footpath” and so on have slightly vague meanings that depend on the intent with which they were designed, so who really knows what’s going on there.

      > but I don’t know if anything has been challenged legally if some driver ran a pedestrian over.

      It’s hard to see how it would ever come up in case law: if the driver was at fault, there’d still be no civil court case since you can’t sue for personal injury, which is the only likely consequence. And in a criminal charge of careless or reckless driving or manslaughter, “I saw him, but didn’t stop because I had right of way” isn’t a defence, so…

  16. Double phasing is a nightmare for road traffic, which includes buses. It’s now often faster to walk up Queen Street (eg. Britomart to Victoria Street) than catch a bus, which can take as much as 20 minutes to get from one end to the other. Pedestrians can wait another 45 seconds. But I guess that’s what you get when you lack spine or even real-world experience from your cosy office.

    1. “Pedestrians can wait another 45 seconds.”

      After all, they have already been waiting for 45 years, so why not delay them a bit longer?

      Sitting around in a cosy office is unhealthy. Standing waiting at a ped signal, much better.

  17. LOL Humpers. Pedestrians on Queen St heavily outnumber any other road users, so it is logical to have double-phasing. However, double-phasing Customs/Queen or Quay/Queen would be a disaster because it would cause so much gridlock that no buses would be able to reach or leave the area. The buses on Customs and Quay are full of people so you have to balance those people with the pedestrians (who also came on buses/trains/ferries). So I don’t see that happening any time soon.

    Personally, I think they should skip having buses on Queen St and just close all the mid blocks down permanently to pedestrians and cyclists only. Between Customs and Wellesley. But that is probably too radical. Queen st would be so much nicer and have smaller intersections which would make east/west flow much easier for buses on Wellesley. The problem is it would take too much consultation and complaints from everyone.

    1. Making it a Transit Mall with not too many services [City Link] is probably the best compromise. Certainly this would vastly improve East/West vehicle movement, and indeed all phases as turning would be removed. Deliveries and Taxis too,

      Ironically this could spell the end of the Barnes Dances as it would probably be more effective to run Concurrent Crossing, ie with no turning to or from the cross streets, there would always be a pedestrian direction available from every corner with the Traffic flow. Very NY. So anyone wanting to go diagonally would always have one leg of that direction open, no waiting, and by the time they got to the other side the other would soon be available.

  18. Patrick, you cant remove phases if you are allowing buses onto Queen St because you will need a phase to get them out of Queen St. You may get some benefit from removing turning phases onto Queen St though. So if you ban all the turns then you could get phasing as you are suggesting with no Barnes dance. I think the better option is to just remove all vehicles including buses because they wont be travelling very fast anyway with zombie smartphone students stumbling all over the place.

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