Today Auckland Transport start a five day long CRL design showcase which is showing what the new stations and public spaces will look like. It’s taking place in QEII Square from 10am to 4pm so if you’re going to the Open Streets event tomorrow then consider popping along.
AT have kindly provided me with the images they’ll be showing and I can now share them with you. Not only are they exciting, making the project much more real but they provide a lot of new information about how the city centre will work in the future.
First up here’s a high level view of what Queen St and lower Albert St will look like after the works have finished. There are some more detailed views of a few aspects below but the unique parts are the precinct developments and the Lower Albert St bus interchange. On the Precinct development I quite like that the north/south lanes are offset which should make the area more interesting.
A closer view of the area around Britomart is below and you can see that Gaunt and Tyler St will still be in use for buses which seems a shame however given the number of buses that need to be accommodated it is likely inevitably. The good news is the rest of lower Queen St will be turned into a public space. That will be much better for those exiting Britomart compared to what we have now with thousands dodging buses (note: the current underpass is being removed as part of these works).
One of the intentions is that the space in front of Britomart will be used as space for events
And here’s Albert St after the CRL. I’m not too convinced that Kauri make good city street trees
One thing I do like is the suggestion of giving the bus lanes more definition. The image below looks like it could mean tiles which seems like overkill for a buslane but it could also just be concrete, either way the extra definition is welcome. It will also be good getting some decently upgraded footpaths on the street.
Remaining on the surface AT are also showing how buses will operate in this part of town after the CRL is complete. This is shown below
Moving on to the stations and AT say they want each station to have a unique personality which flows through from the entrances through to the platforms.
At Britomart it appears there will be a few changes. This includes moving the fare gates up to the ground level as well as removing that odd podium in the middle of the ground floor that helps to restrict pedestrian movement.
It also appears that a better customer service/ticketing area will be provided.
At Aotea we get to the first of the new stations. It appears that the focus here will be on the entrances at least some of them designed for development to occur above. It even seems like they’re planning an apple store here – but more likely just a lot of artistic licence.
We’ve seen this image before but here’s a cut away of the inside of the station. It appears that there’ll be light wells to provide natural light on the platform. Presumably this will take us more space on Albert St and given it’s already tight through there I hope that doesn’t mean loss of the bus lanes on this section.
At Karangahape Rd there are two entrances, one in Beresford Square and one on Mercury Lane. The Beresford Square entrance is meant to be the main one and I really like that roof over the entrance which is meant to reference the mana whenua narrative of Hape and his arrival to Auckland by stingray. They say that below ground horizontal banding of modular cladding is meant to mimic its local geology of sandstone, siltstone and mudstone.
And it seems that the designers want light far down into the station here too. This also highlights how bug the station is. That’s a lot of earth that will need to be dug out.
Below shows another angle of the Beresford Square entrance
The Mercury Lane entrance seems like it will be similar to the Wellesley St Aotea Entrance where the entrance is eventually just part of another building.
We’re starting to have a number of really good stations and I think that the K Rd station could end up the most impressive of all of them. It seems that it will almost definitely be so from an engineering perspective.
It’s fantastic to see more detail emerging. I suspect as we continue to learn more about the details of the project and as we get closer to the start of construction that we’re only going to see support for the project increase (it’s high already). It would be good for AT to take some of this info as well as much more about how the project benefits the entire region on showcase around the region.