While looking at Auckland Transport’s website I found they’d uploaded a number of plans relating to the City Rail Link (the same place I saw the K Rd image from this morning’s post). One of the documents showed the plans for Albert St after the CRL has been completed. The image below shows the section between Victoria St and Wellesley St and highlights what I think is a major issue, the pedestrian environment.

As you can see the future NDG development like the existing Crowne Plaza next to it have large Porte Cochere’s sucking vehicles off the street potentially at speed and all in an area where there is likely to be a lot of pedestrians following the opening of the CRL. The NDG one is made worse by also being the access to the service lane that currently exists. It appears the pedestrians who are in the area might be restricted to some narrow footpaths.

albert-st-porte-cochere

It probably would have been better just to have required that both porte cochere’s be joined up and made into a lane with some activation between that and the street rather than what has been proposed.

If you can’t remember, this is what the NDG building is meant to look like

ndg-centre-1

And here’s a close up of the vehicle entrance – although I guess the people who made the rendering weren’t so focused on the detail of things like the traffic direction

ndg-centre-2

We haven’t heard anything about what’s happening on the NDG development so as much as I want to see that parking crater filled in, in some ways I hope it doesn’t go ahead and the next plan for the site can improve this situation.

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23 comments

  1. Every bloody time *I* pull out a resource consent plan for a client that AT have reviewed and agreed at RC, and want Engineering Plan Approval for the detailed design AT say “Well, we don’t care that we already reviewed this, we want substantial changes anyway”.

    So why not here? Especially considering how much of those slip lanes are part of the public road reserve?

  2. Since driveways to access private property is the only place where pedestrian priority exists over vehicles*, it’d be nice if the reinforcement of such was inherent in the design, rather than encouraging drivers to assume a right of way where there is none.

    *excluding the footpath, where vehicles just shouldn’t be.

    1. Sucky design! In fact rather SHITE if you ask me. Needs to be completely re-done so as to emphasize the legal requirement of motorists actually yielding to pedestrians.

    1. Good question. Safe cycling should be provided for on every street, not just the side streets. Once again motorist space is being prioritised over active modes with this design. Needs a rethink.

  3. Vehicle access should be a small entrance on the back. Instead of taking a large footprint of road as a car loading zone, the road side should instead be shops and amenity for pedestrians.

    If the plan did not change, it will be like the other hotels on albert st now, making the street dangerous to walk and uninviting for pedrestrain to travel along.

    1. The “back” is Elliot Street shared space, where the main vehicle access certainly shouldn’t be. This is the right side to have it – but the design is poor.

  4. It seems the future of Albert St & Hobson Streets are to be car thoroughfares, with little Elliot and Federal Streets (lanes) being the pedestrian options. Doesn’t seem like a fair balance, to me.

  5. GIven that there has been no major Press from NDG recently, and we are in the middle of one of the biggest property booms in recent history, I think ithat if it was going to happen, the spades would be in the ground by now and its highly likely that the site will be flipped on…… ( Its got a 7 year Consent from Feb 2014)

    A fairly large chunk of the resource consent is on FYI
    https://fyi.org.nz/request/1455-resource-consent-for-ndg-auckland-centre

    1. Exactly. Consents for this site are a leading indicator of a financial crisis. As soon as you see a picture of a new big building it is kind of a bellwether for a downturn. It is almost 30 years since the site was cleared.

  6. That hotel is such a hideous, dated design. Its grand porte cochere and canopy sticking out over the street is so 80s/90s. We should be aiming for buildings that are activated at street level for pedestrians with businesses, retail, cafes etc, rather than a gaping maw for cars to drive in and out of, and a towering glass facade. It’s horribly impersonal, intimidating and dead.

    And the tower will turn that section of Albert St into an unpleasant, shaded canyon. Good thing there’s interesting stuff going on below the street there with the CRL, because above ground it’s looking disastrous.

  7. This really isn’t good enough for the street right on top of what’s going to be New Zealand’s busiest public transport stop.

    The service lane is irritating, but it’s a necessary evil to avoid needing vehicle access from Elliot Street. But the porte-cochères are entirely avoidable: the service lane itself allows access to NDG, and kerbside stops on the main roadway of Albert Street could be used for coaches and taxis. The Crowne Plaza’s porte-cochère already exists, but could be mostly eliminated in favour of kerbside stops while we’re at it.

  8. What I really don’t get here is that the Elliot Street and Victoria Street frontages look to be well activated and human scale, but the Albert Street side is designed almost exclusively for cars….

  9. Now, I’m not an expert when it comes to regulatory planning, but I can’t help but look at this and worry about the parlous state of the profession in New Zealand. The fact this car schamozzle made it through the resource consent process, in the centre of our largest city, barely a few hundred metres from Queen Street just blows my mind. Poof! There is goes – up in smoke.

    I’m coming to the conclusion that our current RMA-based consent processes don’t transfer well to urban environments, at all. Two solutions I see are 1) a buttload of national policy statements or 2) a new piece of legislation altogether. 1) probably easier to get through?

  10. If you want an hotel there then you have to put up with a hotel entrance. If you dont let them have that they will probably go somewhere else.

    1. Thought the same thing. I also agree that as nothing yet has happened on this site, nothing will anytime soon.

      Agreeing with two of your posts, same day, same thread.

      I feel dirty and am going for a shower….

    2. I don’t think many are objecting to the concept of a hotel entrance. Its the lack of integration between two adjacent entrances, and the cumulative impact they have on street environment that is the problem.

      Im saying that, im sure it could have been mitigated design changes like what you suggest.

  11. Assuming a hotel, if they want a porte cochere there’s no reason to object in principle. But the speed-inducing shallow angles are ridiculous.
    Drive should cross the footpath at 90 degrees with raised tables for visual confirmation that vehicles yield to pedestrians. The whole thing should be pushed inwards so there is an adequate footpath between the ramp and the street. Done.
    Whether the site should have a more active use is a different question.

  12. The design is being driven by bus lanes. Taxis, shuttles, delivery vehicles can not stop in front of hotels, shops, apartments, and offices on Albert Street. Who suffers? Pedestrians and cyclists. How much time will they really trim off the bus journey by creating bus lanes in the city centre? Since there will be 60/hour during peak times, not much. You’d be better off closing Albert Street to private vehicles during peak and only having two moving traffic lanes. Use the other two lanes for loading and unloading, plant trees. With this approach you’d have room for bike lanes and 8 meter footpaths.

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