Albert Street is going to be a mess for a few years while the City Rail Link is constructed and a report to the councils Auckland City Centre Advisory Board highlights that we can expect it to be reinstated looking better than it does now. The section involved is only that affected by the enabling works which is everything north of Wyndham St. They say there has been over 12 months of design and consultation to come up with the current plans which will create “a high-quality urban street which functions as a key bus corridor while providing improved pedestrian access and amenity“.
The history so far:
- July 2014 – brief completed
- August 2015 – consultant team engaged – ACADO
- March 2015 – concept/reference design completed
- April 2015 – brief updated to support findings from reference design work
- May 2015 – consultant team engaged – Boffa/BECA
- July 2015 – draft developed design completed for review and further feedback
- August 2015-September 2015 – final amendments made, final option prepared for sign off
- September 2015-October 2015 – Albert Street detail design/tender drawings
The developed design is below, if differs slightly from the reference design we saw in April with the biggest change seeming to be the lane layout of the downtown development – although there may be other changes that can’t be seen due to the low res image.
Below are the key design outcomes that AT have come up with.
Most of this is good although a couple of potential concerns stand out. One being the last point that the section of Albert St between Customs and Quay Street will be bus only except for local traffic. That combined with some of the images below suggests that there will be access to underground parking in the middle of the bus interchange.
The other main concern is that there will be no segregated cycle provision. The street on these sections is very wide and my personal observations is that a lot of cyclists use Albert St to get up from Quay St up to the middle of town. It seems that having a cycle facility at least on the uphill section would be useful. It seems based on the latest image from AT on their planned city centre cycle map that they instead want cyclists to use Federal St which long term will be a shared space.
Below are some images of what’s proposed.
On the Wyndham to Swanson section the biggest difference is the wider footpaths. Currently there is space southbound for the bus stops and a separate bus lane however now it seems that will be combined in one lane. Similarly there is currently a separate right turn lane Northbound into Swanson St which will in future be combined with the general traffic lane.
On the Swanson to Customs Section there are a couple of notable differences to what exists now. The wider footpaths take over the parking/loading zone space outside Quay West building and the northbound bus stops are concentrated opposite this rather than split between that location and just south of Wolfe St
And here is an image of what it would look like – although it seems the traffic are on the wrong sides of the road.
And a prettier version from April.
The section between Customs and Quay St where the bus interchange will be. As mentioned earlier you can see there appears to be an entrance to an underground carpark on the eastern side – where one exists now – although it appears not one further north to the HSBC building carpark. Perhaps this suggests the HSBC carpark with views overlooking the harbour will be redeveloped as part of the mall redevelopment.
- Tidy up plans, create supporting illustrations for communications. – September, October 2015
- Get formal agreements for funding from relevant and various sources – October, November 2015
- Complete and agree canopies to lower Albert (Downtown development surrounds) working with Precinct, AT, AC, ACPL combined. September, October 2015
- Present design to relevant PCG’s, Committees, Boards for information. September, October 2015
- Complete detail drawing as part of tender document for C2 contract. September, October 2015
It’s good to see some progress and the report notes that the advisory board have previously endorsed in principle the allocation of about $7 million from the City Centre Targeted Rate to go towards the street improvements.
Lastly it might be a while before they start focusing on it but I’m really interested to see how they’ll deal with the two sections south of Wyndham St which have service lanes narrowing the road space available.