In recent weeks we’ve started to see a number of small but important changes to in the CBD in the aim of improving the pedestrian experience. This has included installing a Barnes dance on the intersection of Quay St and Hobson St and closing the slip lane from Albert St through to Quay St. These changes are just the tip of the iceberg though according an item going to the Waitamata Local Board today. All the changes come under a route optimisation programme which Auckland Transport is undertaking. They say:

  • A Stage One pre-optimisation report was prepared by the Joint Traffic Operations Centre (JTOC) that captures the investigation strategy, current performance and optimisation recommendations. Recommendations include signal timings changes and physical works changes.
  • This project applies the Network Operating Plan approach which incorporates Auckland Transport’s strategic objectives. Priority in the CBD has been placed predominantly for pedestrians and public transport, but also an onus to maintain flow in peak periods for traffic. Through collaboration, Auckland Transport has incorporated other operational issues raised by parties such as Auckland Council and Waterfront Auckland.
  • Some benefits are already being experienced particularly for pedestrians through intelligent phasing to ease movements for pedestrian through the city centre during the inter and off peak periods whilst retaining and improving bus movements.

For the programme the CBD has been split up in five zones which are shown below.

CBD Route Optimisation Zones

For each zone almost every intersection appears to have been reviewed. The tables below show what is proposed although some of the outcomes are investigations rather than final solutions but still promising that this is being finally looked at.

CBD Route Optimisation Zone A

CBD Route Optimisation Zone B

CBD Route Optimisation Zone C

CBD Route Optimisation Zone D

CBD Route Optimisation Zone E

That’s quite a list and covers a lot of the issues that we’ve raised over the years so it’s pleasing to see some will be happening finally.

Share this


  1. I see quite a few of the missing pedestrian legs included there, though not all of them.
    If all of this was done would be huge improvement for the CBD. Also see of few little bus lane improvements I have been noting on twitter, such as Symonds St by Grafton bridge and Waterloo Quadrant. Lets hope most of these are seen as quick wins, rather than waiting years to find a few extra dollars to sort it all out.

    1. I’m not sure getting rid of slip lanes is always positive when there is a bus lane involved.
      Getting rid of the slip lane turning left from Symonds into Khyber Pass would require cars to be in the bus lane. If there was a pedestrian phase the bus would have to wait while the left turners had a red arrow, and the current bus priority light would be useless if there was a car in front.
      Getting rid of the other slip lanes is probably a good idea.

      1. That one won’t be a problem Jimbo as there is already a left turn lane inside the bus lane. One simply needs to change the slip lane into a regular left turn lane.

        1. There’s not. The left turn lane is the bus lane. Well, the last 5m of it is a bus lane.

          However, removing the slip lane still won’t do anything significant negative for buses, I think, as the slip lane currently is blocked by just a single bus waiting at the lights. So buses and cars already coexist in this lane.

          If we wanted to improve buses, we could always, you know, mark an ACTUAL bus lane on Symonds northbound here. Why do we need 3 general lanes? Have a left turn lane for everyone (but no slip lane), a straight through bus lane next to it, and a single northbound normal lane nearest to the middle.

          1. My ride here on Saturday, and a quick perousal of google maps confirms my position on this.

      2. I’m no traffic engineer so I’m probably not qualified to comment on whether or not those slip lanes are necessary.

        But (unless they’ve changed recently) neither of these slip lanes have any pedestrian phase or painted white crossing lines. And I think it’s pretty unacceptable for pedestrians to be forces to ‘run the gauntlet’ in order to get across a road (especially in the centre of a city).

  2. There are always recommendations aplenty. Whether they survive to implementation is a whole other kettle of fish….

  3. Be nice if they could deal with the absence of pedestrian priority on some of the other intersections around the region. Wilkinson Rd/Main Highway would be one, though I’m sure the horrified shrieks of “But, but, THE FLOW!” emanating from AT’s traffic engineers will put paid to any such possibility.
    I seem to recall GSR/Puhinui Rd being another ghastly pedestrian experience, though with a crossing on every leg it’s not quite so painful. And there must be others.

    1. This was something pushed and advocated for by the Waitemata local board, if nothing exists from anywhere else in the region then this is in part a failure of the local boards there to be proactively seeking pedestrian and cycling improvements.

      1. This is really really important. We have just heard from people who attended a transport meeting in Pakuranga last night where the local MP [Lee-Ross] and Councillor [Quax] banged on about motorways and the local board said it had no plans for buslanes for the country’s busiest arterial road; Pakuranga Highway.

        The politicians at least in that area only want driving infrastructure so that’s pretty much all they’ll get, and as the area is already full of roads [Pak Highway is 6 lanes], I guess that means they’ll get not much or worse; things like the coming flyover through the Town Centre.

        All the people out there will remain stranded in Motordom. Youth and talent will leave, especially to areas with active progressive Boards making real changes.

        Well Auckland is getting more and more diverse in terms of urban pattern that’s for sure. Vive la difference!

        1. Maybe that is because there won’t be any routes on Pakuranga Highway in the new network. AMETI runs on Lagoon Dr/Pakuranga Rd

  4. Judging by these improvements I’d say they’re a traffic engineeer’s bare minimum, undertaken somewhat reluctantly and reacting to pressure from the Waitemata Local Board. Where, for example, is a solution to the long touted problems concerning Shortland Street? The qualifying phrase ‘onus to maintain flow in peak periods for traffic’ says it all really. Guess it’s a case of Eric, or little by little.

    1. Shortland Street appears to have been left out of this study strangely, several roads such as Bacon Lane are in serious need of narrowing, makes walking down it quite unpleasant.

  5. There’s a lot of non-specific “investigate” and “review” items listed, plus tinkering with ramps, surfaces and paint. Can only wait and see what happens.

    At best, there no limit to what they can fix — loads of zebra crossings, midblock crossings, frequent signal phasing, buildouts, etc. Maybe even segments of physically separated bike lanes with accommodation for all turning movements, or mini road diets. At worst, I’m afraid of seeing a bunch more “CHECK BEFORE YOU STEP” type signs. Somewhere in between, perhaps?

    For now though, it’s a little concerning that requests for improvement are being deferred into this big-ball-of-mud project, e.g. — hope it unfolds in a timely way.

    1. Indeed. And praise for Waitemata Local Board too, who have made themselves a constant nuisance over these items, which is why they are now being considered.

Leave a Reply