As part of the City Centre Masterplan, a laneway circuit was proposed. A circuit of laneways around the city would be upgraded to help unlock the city making it a more vibrant place for residents, tourists, workers & visitors. This while also providing alternative walking routes taking the pressure off Queen St. We have seen them become massive successes with Jean Batten, O’ Connell, Federal St Stage 1, Galway, Fort St/Lane as well as parts of Lorne. Fort Street even made it into the NACTO Global Street Design Guide as a case study to follow.

Fort Street Results

We have seen the success stories these laneways have become & they have transformed the east side of the Queen Street valley. So if I was in charge where would my focus be?

My focus would be on Federal Street Stage 3 (Between Victoria Street & Fanshawe street.

Green: Completed; Blue: Out to Tender; Red: Stage 3; Yellow: Other Western City Centre Laneways

This is because

  1. It has a huge potential to unlock the western side of the Queen Street valley, High St isn’t the most pleasant place but it already has shops so the laneway would make it great but not have anywhere near the same transformative effect. The western side is at current underused with massive potential.

    Federal Street
  2. It will provide an alternative route consider it our Super Walkway SW20 or Western Ring for pedestrians taking pressure off Queen Street.
  3. It will provide alternative access for pedestrians while the CRL works on Albert occurs & in the future when LRT works on Queen happen to help keep the city moving.
  4. Will act as key transport links in the city for residents, workers & tourists

With the city nearly hitting 45000 residents, the number of residents not forecasted till 2032, we need to get moving on completing the City Centre Masterplan. Add in tourism booming and we can’t simply wait until 2022 for this important link.

Laneway Circuit
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  1. I find this is an interesting part of town, experienced on numerous visits to Food Alley. Was once told that the block between St Patricks square and Albert Street is the only ‘complete’ block of heritage buildings in the city.

      1. Ahhh…So it was the last complete block until construction commenced on the Park Apartments! Thanks for the update. Obviously been a while since I last trod those pavements 🙂

  2. Would be interested in people’s thoughts on the Federal-Fanshawe intersection.

    The plan down Federal Street all makes sense, then you hit the bottom of Federal and all of a sudden you’re facing a four lane expressway and a view into the downtown car park. Hostile to say the least.

    In an ideal world you’d keep walking straight ahead, through the laneway with AMP and PwC, and end up at Quay Street and Princes Wharf. Could this ever be possible?

  3. “a more vibrant place for residents, tourists, workers & visitors. ” apart from the port and those doing construction where are the “workers” in the CBD?

    1. +1 if we have to have vehicle access then lets do that; only allow vehicle access. Close O’Connell and Jean Batten at the northern end, close Fort Street at the Queen Street and Customs Street intersections, close Lorne Street at the Wellesley Street end, and close Elliot Street From Wellesley and Queen Streets.

    2. Yeah agree, but it is still a shared space, it’s not pedestrainised. You can indeed drive on the thing, for example you still see vans and trucks coming in to make deliveries then heading out the way they came.

      It’s just useless to through traffic, which is great. There’s no vehicles on the street that aren’t actually serving buildings on the street.

      1. How restricted to vehicles does a space need to be to be deemed pedestrianised?
        Because it’s not always a complete ban: e.g. Wellington’s Cuba Mall allows service vehicle access for 5 hours a day

        1. There probably isn’t and exact rule. But O’Connell St currently has no restrictions on vehicles at all, you can drive into it at any time, day or night. The only thing is it is a dead end without parking, so there are very few reasons why you would drive there, only for deliveries really.

          Seems perfect to me: unrestricted access for those that need to drive there, but very few reasons to drive there. Cutting out the through traffic is key.

        2. Yes I agree. And I think the idea can be rolled out across the suburbs too. Meola Rd, for example, should be closed to private cars, at a location near the Meola Reef Reserve and soccer club. Buses and active modes would still have access. People going to those places can still drive, but the through traffic treating Pt Chevalier Rd and Meola Rd as a traffic sewer would be stopped.

  4. They should close off the Customs Street End of Fort Street to cut out those using it as a Rat Run and also close off the entrances to Britomart from Customs Street and the Exits to Quay Street to stop the Britomart area being a Rat Run.

    1. My view is they should close Fort St between Jean Batten Place and Fort Lane. Some rising bollards would do.

      Then you end up with two sides that are still fully accessible to traffic that needs to be there, but no ability to rat run through.

  5. Yesterday I observed a man trying to window shop on High Street. The footpath is so narrow he couldn’t stop to look through the window without blocking the footpath – so invariably had to move somewhere awkward.

    The narrow footpath, caused by on-street parking, is having a negative effect on the shopping experience for pedestrians.

    1. Inform the shop owners – a few of them historically have fought tooth and nail to prevent widening of the footpaths (which results in the removal of on-street parking).
      Maybe if enough potential customers inform the store workers/owners, then they will lobby Council and AT to make the changes.

    2. I agree. It’s a joke trying to walk/move around High Street. Do we need to have parking on both sides of the street? How about parking on Mr Crane’s side of the street for his customers, and a wider path on the other?
      The larger mass of pedestrians on the other side may make a few review their thinking.

  6. What is the possibility of charging for parking so that at least 15% of spaces are free at all times.
    This should not only increase revenue but also reduce congestion.

      1. Hariet that is fine but when will it be implemented. Why should it be confined to the CBD? It should be everywhere that the parking demand is greater than the supply.

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