We’ve talked before about how an emerging trend is for cities to increasingly go car-free, especially in their city centres. One of the most ambitious in this aim is Oslo who plan to go car free by the end of 2019. The excellent Streetfilms have just released a new video looking at some of what the city is doing to prepare. This includes:

  • Removing on-street car parking for:
    • Wider footpaths
    • More and wider bike lanes – although there doesn’t appear to be any separation
    • More bus lanes, tram lines
  • Building new rail lines
  • Revamping their bike share system to make it more usable

I also liked that their buses use all door boarding to speed up dwell times – this is something we’ve said Auckland Transport need to implement, especially on busy routes like the Northern Express. Their ticketing system is also interesting, an app where you just select the pass you want and relying on passenger honesty – like many PT systems in other European cities.

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  1. I live in Riga Latvia where I use the buses and trams everyday. The buses have at least 3 doors though the bendys have 4. It is very rare that I board the bus at the front door. The passengers waiting at the busstop can also open the doors if the driver doesn’t do so when pulled up to the busstop.

  2. So, what I would like to see happen in the City Centre, immediately:

    1. Conversion of Queen St, Customs St to the Town Hall to a Transit Mall, i.e. buses and pedestrian and bikes only. Deliveries in specific time windows. No digging the street up (that comes with the Light Rail build, soon), just planters at closed street edges and signage. Current parking bays on Queen all become loading zones,

    2. High and Lorne to become pedestrian priority Shared spaces

    3. Lower Shortland form O’Connell down to become shared too, but closed off at Queen.

    4. Wyndam closed at Queen St

    And on a rolling basis with CRL surface completions:

    1. Vic St road diet (the Linear Park)

    My view is that rather than the CRL works meaning we have to keep Queen and other streets car drenched for longer in fact the reverse is the case. Lower traffic volumes through the city centre are what is required, and as the CRL works have themselves shown, the best (only) way to achieve this is to restrict access for cars. Every other street use then benefits: Pedestrian, bikes, buses, deliveries, emergency.

    I know this is to invert the established hierarchy for our streets but it is clearly supported by the evidence; conventional thinking is simply wrong and outdated, and it’s time we got on with making decisions based on the evidence in front of us. Everything in this very heart of the city becomes more efficient and easier, and more productive, without trying to squeeze in every driver and their car who cares to try to enter these few streets.

    The buses on Queen St would work more reliably and faster, deliveries will not be competing with random day-trippers for destination proximate spots. East-west traffic on Customs, Victoria, and Wellesley (buses), will clear much more efficiently, Pedestrians will have the space and time they deserve in the city centre, and they are the economic powerhouse here. Shortland St drivers will soon adapt and drive up the hill instead of down. That’s what’s great about driving right? Flexibility.

    Anyway Queen St should be getting dug up soon for Light Rail, so we should prepare driver habits for the future city. How soon is now? Just do it already. There is no better time than now.

    here is a PDF on the management of inner Melbourne streets, AKL can surely do this on a tiny network of its inner streets too: https://participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/application/files/1814/3891/0153/Street_Management_and_Operation_pages_22-45.pdf

    1. Shared spaces are a disaster waiting to happen. Better to remove all cars completely from Elliot St, OConnell St and Fort St. I would expect in the next few years European cities will remove traffic from city centres and erect bollards and barriers to keep them out during business hours. The driver will be security but the outcome will be an improvement all around.

      1. Yeah, largely agree, but of course deliveries will still need to be made, there will still be some vehicles but there needs to be fewer. My view is that with a full network as I describe above, and some carefully placed physical barriers, the utility of private vehicles driving through these streets will become so low that it becomes self reinforcing.

        At the moment we have completely schizophrenic management of the City Centre streets: some traffic reduction actions but within a context of the old traffic maximisation policy. As can be seen by AT’s desperate fight to four lane Victoria St.

        We need a proper policy of private vehicle traffic reduction in the very centre, like Oslo in the video above.

        The shared spaces suffer from a lack of consistent policy right now.

        For example, with Shortland/Queen intersection closed, High etc will be effectively carless.

  3. This film is great, watched last night. Do u think we could upgrade lower queen st closing off to cars in anticipation of LRT so that its upgrade (widen out paths etc) is future proofed without needing a full upgrade again just tracks and power, stations in the ctr of the corridor? Do this instead of a temporary version. Also is underground power in part realistic without the messy overhead wires?

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