Federal St, between Mayoral Dr and Wellesley St, is to be the next street in the city to get the shared space treatment with Auckland Transport beginning consultation on it today.

Here’s what AT say about this upgrade.

We are proposing a full streetscape upgrade of the section of Federal Street between Mayoral Drive and Wellesley Street.

Our goal is to create an inclusive space where everyone is welcome, which acts as an extension of the living spaces available to nearby apartment buildings and businesses.

Safety issues are a key consideration in this project, and will be addressed through the proposed design features, to include safer pedestrian access to these areas.

A number of separate, private developments in areas nearby, including Saint Matthew-in-the-City, are also planned (these developments are outside of the scope of this project).


Design features of proposal include:

  • Shared path for pedestrians and people on bikes, connecting Mayoral Drive, with Federal Street.
  • Fully-accessible ramp and stair access between Mayoral Drive and Federal Street.
  • Street furniture offering places for people to gather and sit.
  • Removal of 22 parking spaces (loading zones will remain). Many businesses in the area have their own parking available, and the Civic car park will not be affected.
  • Street planting.
  • New lighting to improve safety and visibility.

And here are some images of what it is meant to look like once complete.

Due to this section of Federal St effectively being a dead-end road, it should be the first of the shared spaces that doesn’t suffer from rat running.

Consultation is open till 10 December.

It’s the latest project towards the goal of creating a laneway circuit around through the city centre.

Laneway Circuit

AT say investigation on the third stage of the Federal St upgrade, between Victoria and Wyndham St, will begin next year. However, there is no timing yet for the final stage between Swanson and Fanshawe St.

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  1. I wonder how they choose what to do next. They must have looked at the street with the least pedestrians and even fewer cars and decided it was a perfect place to spend money.

    1. Having few pedestrians is a pretty good indicator of where the pedestrian facilities are awful. All the other shared spaces had far fewer pedestrian volumes before being fixed, obviously.

      The fact that around two thousand people now live on that 100m long block shows they are prioritizing they spending very well, that’s a hell of a lot of residents to benefit from a comparatively tiny project.

      1. Sorry I forgot about them. I believed that Council video that claimed it cost $146000 per house for infrastructure in the outer areas but it is already there in the CBD. Turns out it is not already there.

        1. Well unless we are spending $150m on 100 metres of paving we are getting some damned good savings. Oh wait, I forget we aren’t paying for this at all, it’s covered entirely by a targeted rate paid for by local residents.

          What was your point again? Building new sprawl in greenfields is really expensive and building infrastructure for apartments in town is…. free?

        2. Well that’s good to know. It is not a real cost because someone else is paying. Oh wait that is still a cost.

        3. I’m sure you are aware, but this is all paid for by a city center targeted rate, so your usual whinge is irrelevant.

      2. There’s probably more people living within walking distance of that space than in an entire typical suburb.

        The fact that this stretch is still mostly empty, says a lot about the quality of the street environment for pedestrians, none of it good. It’s about time things start happening over there.

  2. Much nicer! I used to live in the apartments at the end of Federal, and it always suffered from drivers circling to find a (no cost) carpark at night.

  3. I generally approve, assuming they link the cycle connection in properly – the current method from Vincent Street involves fighting it out with the pedestrian crossing.

    I don’t understand why we can’t just remove all parking from (all identified) streets tomorrow. Why do we need to wait for a big $ spend to remove parking? Street will be calmed overnight and it will likely be more effective than shared spaces anyway (never seen a car park in a shared space. nope, never). They have already identified the laneway circuit – if you just prevent parking then 80% of the benefits will come regardless of streetscape upgrades and we all get a better city now rather than in 12 years.

    1. I disagree. The images highlight and communicate the design proposal very well – any more colour or detail of the surrounding context and it would be hard to read.

  4. Currently there is a left turn only and no easy way to cross Wellesley street W from Federal as a pedestrian or cyclist. Most cyclists are going straight across ignoring the left turn only arrows. Most of the benefit will be in linking the Federal st route with appropriate crossings

    1. agree that a benefit will be linking the stub end of Federal with the skycity dominated bit. cyclists aren’t really ignoring the left-turn only, because as far as i’m concerned i’m a pedestrian on wheels not a car, so crossing with due care on the pedestrian signal is just fine. but this will only be a benefit of the re-do if they fix the ludicrously long time it takes to get a pedestrian cross signal.

      And if the linkages with Vincent and Mayoral for bikes are improved, so we don’t conflict with actual pedestrians. the signals are mayoral are dumb as well (well that whole intersection is a farce with those long fast slip lanes and general oversizedness) – be good to get a barnes dance there so people leaving federal could head up vincent to pitt and K Road.

      1. Whilst I appreciate your argument, the pedant in me gets very upset at cyclists not dismounting for pedestrian phases.

        For pedestrians, they’ve no way to know if you’re going to be an aggressive nuisance or as meek as a mouse. This makes you a nuisance by default. Get off your bike and walk it across the intersection, like the law says.

        There’s enough anti-cycling hate already, without you adding fuel to the fire through your laziness and self-importance.

        Tempering my comments somewhat, I agree that improvements to separate cyclists from pedestrians (and vehicles) are worth striving for. The more cyclists there are, the less cars and there will be – Which is great for everybody.

        1. Jon, just a few queries because I know you like to be taken outside your usual thought patterns : How much do you cycle? How often do you cycle with a line of children behind you? Are you familiar with the difficulty of getting them all up and cycling again close together, often with other people in the way on the narrow space – compared to letting them smoothly follow you across the crossing? Assuming you also are annoyed at cyclists not dismounting at unphased pedestrian crossings, have you ever timed how much longer the car drivers have to wait if you dismount and have you noticed that most drivers prefer it if you glide across quickly and slow them down less? Have you ever thought through how much longer a simple local trip takes for a mum and children if they have to constantly dismount and remount?

          On a deeper level, have you ever wondered how different the rules would be if cyclists had written them? And have you ever considered how it may just be the pedant – not the progressive – in you that’s not willing to wait and see if cyclists and pedestrians can work this out without recourse to the car-based rules, once the bias to cars is removed amd there are finally enough cyclists for a new system to evolve?

        2. When I used to cycle as a child, I would always dismount at ped crossings (lights or zebras). Even the few times as an adult that I cycled in Auckland I’d dismount. I don’t cycle any more, primarily because old injuries make it not viable to do any decent distance, that and my dog wouldn’t do well running with my bike – She may be fast, but she doesn’t have much running endurance.

          The pedant in me refers to the law, in order to create predictability for all. Neither Sid nor myself were talking about zebra crossings, so I’ll skip that part.

          I’ve not given thought towards how this impacts on parents with children. Nor have I ever encountered a line of kids on cycles (which probably says a lot about how cycle friendly most cities in NZ are), but I can say that when crossing a major intersection, having a cyclist going through without dismounting has been frustrating – In _my_ experience, they’re dodging and weaving and lack predictability. Frustrates me, scares my dog, which in turn frustrates me more.

          I’d like to think that peds and cyclists can work together, however cyclists have pedestrians at a significant disadvantage – They’re travelling with more force, slightly more speed and substantially less maneuverability than pedestrians (especially if they’re as poor a cyclist as I am). I know that you and I like to think that we have sufficient mental capacity to dodge cyclists, except even very intelligent people do absolutely brain-dead things when surprised or upon encountering an unexpected or unfamiliar situation. Having worked ~20 years in IT I’ve many personal stories of mega-smart people doing very stupid things when encountering something unexpected – These are people who I knew and respected, people whom I consider of well above average intelligence. In this context, unexpected could mean that the cyclist rebalanced, giving the appearance of changing direction.

          It comes down to reducing risk. A few seconds delay is not a big price to pay for the safety of all. Being a responsible cyclist is like being a responsible dog owner, it only takes a few bad examples to ruin it for everybody.

          I’m not sure I fully understood the intent of your last paragraph, hopefully I’ve provided an answer. 🙂

        3. Out of interest, it’s not technically illegal to cycle across a zebra crossing – it’s just that motorists are also not legally obliged to give way to you if you do (that anomaly is currently being looked for making consistent across all path users). So I guess that’s one reason to dismount and walk across. Signals are a bit more clear, in that you can’t cycle on a ped signal, although the simple solution is to provide both pedestrian and cycle signals to allow for both legally (there’s even some moves to look at combined ped/cycle signal aspects).

        4. Thanks Glen and Jon for your replies. All good points, and I believe I have seen elderly people quite uncomfortable with being unable to predict cyclists’ movements. I guess my questions above were to raise the idea that with all the current barriers preventing cycling, having a pet peeve isn’t helpful, whereas looking at each situation with a fresh eye is. I’m sure we’re all trying to build a safer and more respectful culture. 🙂

        5. “have you ever wondered how different the rules would be if cyclists had written them?”

          That’s the thing really. I find the term “breaking the law” quite meaningless for cyclists. What law? We have a traffic law for cars, and yes we kind of try to project it on cyclists, but it just doesn’t work. If you would actually try to obey that law as a cyclist, you would end up injured or killed.

          If you’re wondering about that term ‘car-based rules’, the next time you’re on Queen Street when it’s busy, walk up on Victoria Street a bit, and observe a Barnes dance. Observe how the two diagonal streams of pedestrians cross each other, without needing an intricate set of traffic rules to avoid accidents.

          We need that book full of rules specifically for cars because they are heavy and clumsy, and fast at the same time. Cyclists are fast too but there’s a difference between 1500kg @ 50 km/h vs. 90 kg @ 20 km/h.

        6. Pedestrians should be the priority in transport planning and law. So yes cyclists should obey the law and dismount as they are putting pedestrians at risk.

          Also traffic laws are just that, traffic laws. It doesn’t matter what type of transport you choose. Breaking the law is not meaningless for cyclists, the law accounts for everyone including pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles.

        7. Josh. There are numerous situations where following the law to the letter as a cyclist is counterproductive and puts your life at risk. Until I was a cyclist I believed the law should always be followed. Now, I know that’s crap. I’ll follow the law as a cyclist when the law has been written by a cyclist who cycles with children.

          Cyclists are putting their lives on the line each time they hop on their bikes.

        8. See that is a different argument. Somehow the argument before was that the law doesn’t technically relate to a cyclist which is absolutely false. Do the laws need to be re-written? Absolutely.

          But pedestrians should have priority over cyclists, cyclists should dismount and walk across intersections during pedestrian phases, or at pedestrian crossings.

        9. @ Josh – Perhaps it should be that only dismount if other peds are crossing/about to cross otherwise riding should be a clear legal option and that cars should expect this to happen and legally have to give way to you.

    1. That’s one of my pet peeves, too.

      Also, I’ve never understood why people try to rat run via Elliot and Darby Sts. Elliot being another free parking area, for private vehicles and taxis.

  5. What is the goal of the shared streets? Why allow cars at all? Is it just for access to buildings? In which case why not make them all dead ends to stop rat running?
    If they make them all dead ends, they could find the biggest space along the road that doesn’t have driveways and close that section off, providing a little park like space in the middle of the street.

        1. Eliott Street isn’t too bad.

          I think officially the part Federal Street north of Wellesley Street is already a shared space. In theory. In practice it is often a wall of taxis, extending on Wellesley Street in two quarter circles, and this bunch of buses and taxis on the other end (at the Sky tower). I don’t even know where I’m supposed to walk on that street.

        2. Elliott could be a lot better still without the rat-runners and illegal parkers. In other words, without cars.

        3. I agree in part with JeffT. Elliot is a rat run and illegal parking lot. Soon construction for the NDG tower will remove the car park (yay!), however most of the cars on Elliot are people trying to avoid Queen St.

          They need to install retractable bollards at Wellesley St and the Q St end of Darby. Have the bollards raise at 15:00 or thereabouts. That will get rid of a massive amount of rat running and still allow egress from the car park. Lower the bollards on the Wellesley St end later, like 19:00 or 20:00, to allow use of the car park again. That way you’re not impinging substantially on a legal, albeit undesirable, business.

        4. I know that SKYCITY are keen to pedestrianise that part of Federal Street and seal off the Victoria Street end. There would then only be access at the Wellesley street end to allow cars into the car park – or they may move the entrance to the car park and completely cut it off.

          They are actively lobbying AT to do this.

  6. Hopefully they are able to preserve and highlight some of the original exposed concrete street,
    there are fewer and fewer examples of it visible in Auckland, and they are certainly not putting any more down, as things are now either bitumen or shared space pavers…..

    (also I guess ripping it up will be a very slow and noisy proposition, )

    1. The problem is that concrete lasts for decades and there is no money to be made from installing a bitumen based surface and resurfacing it every 18 months.

  7. Would be great if the church on corner would get pulled down, a bit run down now and doesn’t really have a “sense of place” a modern city centre. Very inward-facing and fortress-like with that stone. Typical of a time period where we were desperately trying to transplant England into Aotearoa I suppose. Unfortunately even if it got sold off I the usual cries of “heritage” will keep it there.

    I thinking a community or multifaith centre engaging and activating the streetfront along there would match the today’s demographics a lot better and be a great deal more useful but hey you can dream right?

    1. It has grass around it. Grass! Totally out of place.

      We can also keep the parking structure next to it, to show off the virtues of ‘modern’ vs. ‘old’ city building.

    2. Do you mean St Matthews? The acoustics are pretty special. It’s a treat to be able to play there… I wonder if they need to have more community concerts there to increase appreciation. I believe they’re trying to develop the gardens for the community. From their facebook page:

      “The CBD Community Garden Project will transform the space outside St Matthew’s church into a space for the inner city community to re-connect and grow food together.

      If you’d like to be involved in creating green spaces and building a sense of community in our neighbourhood, then we want you!”

      1. Yes, that’s St. Matthew’s on that corner.

        I was going to write a tongue-in-cheek comment, but it turned out more like a sad-but-true comment. To find another patch of grass which has any use as a park, you have to walk to Myers Park, or in the other direction all the way to Victoria Park.

        If you think of this more seriously, note that:
        – The church is hardly a big building nowadays. Compare the scale with for instance the Sky City building across Wellesley Street, which effectively kills the street edges on three sides of an entire block.
        – Even though it’s inward facing, those walls still retain some human scaled features. Compare for instance with the big glass brick across the street on nr 210.

        1. So many examples of inhuman blank facades all over town. St Matthews has lovely nooks and crannies to go and play in. And I’m sure all sorts do. 🙂

          Certainly the opportunity the grounds present are more amazing than the current reality but a little bit of intact soil!! is gold.

    3. St Matthews is not rundown and caters for the the Christian faith and european activities. Unless we’re not able to do these anymore in which case I might as well die because I don’t have a country or place of being anymore.

        1. My apologies for the vagueness. Things like orchestral concerts. E.g. St Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra.
          Not the sort of thing Heidi went too!
          (You can’t stop those european activities).

        2. 🙂 Please don’t mind me. I go quite mad at this time of year… I enjoy at least one concert at St Matthews each year as my son’s and husband’s orchestra plays there, and the music is mainly European…

    4. St Matthew’s is a beautiful space for concerts – the acoustics are wonderful, and the inside of the building is beautiful. I know they are having more and more community events there. E.g. community choirs holding concerts, Stonefields choir had theirs at St Matthew’s last two years.

      I’m all for retaining good usable examples of our historic buildings.

    5. Wouldn’t it be great if Sky City were pulled down – an ugly building explicitly designed with the sole purpose of stealing money from people, with no regard whatsoever for human good (by any humanistic or religious standard).

      St Matts is truly a community building by its usage, much more so than Sky City – all sorts of interesting stuff happens there. I agree it would be neat to open an entry somehow on Wellesley – this could be done with some imagination, it’s happened to similar buildings elsewhere.

      (side rant – don’t forget, in Christchurch it was the users of the Cathedral that wanted to have a new and engaging facility and it was the “community groups” (as I understand, largely not Christian by faith) who have forced it to be rebuilt as a theme park copy. – /rant)

    6. St Matthews church is a majestic piece of neo gothic architecture and heritage,, of which Auckland is severely lacking. It is also opposite the Albion Hotel ,the oldest pub in this city ,and soon be shrouded by a towering convention centre. These two buildings bring character and history to a part of town where ugly shoe box apartments dominate. So no, the removal of either of these buildings to build more uninspired tiny shoe boxes or ‘community centres ‘ is a ridiculous suggestion imo

  8. Since there will be very few vehicles accessing the street, it doesn’t make sense to have asphalt car lanes one on each side.

    The street should be fully paved making the street mostly pedestrians and no vehicles asphalt lane is needed.

    The wider pedestrian area can be better utilised.

      1. But for how much longer?

        With O’Connell St petitioning to close their road to vehicles, it’s surely not long now before High St sees the light. Especially since one of the ringleaders has now left the area…

        We can but dream!


  9. How does this work fit with the upcoming building construction behind the city mission? Expect many truck movements could do quite some damage.

  10. The old Datacom building here will be redeveloped at some stage too, there have been a couple of large proposals that fell over, this will mean hundreds more residents will be living right on this street too – demonstrating the importance of the upgrade even further.

  11. weird…. I smell sky city wants to expand and buy the buildings along there for more hotel… PS when is Queen street being pedestrianized?

  12. The only dilemma with these improvements & also the CRL ironically is it will easily funnel more poor people into the Sky City gambling dens to waste their precious money on. Can’t avoid it I guess and perhaps they will save money for not needing cars & paying for parking?!

  13. I hope it’s more welcome to pedestrians than the current section of Federal St that’s currently shared, I’ve never found it to be a great pedestrian environment.

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