There was an interesting opinion piece on Stuff yesterday from travel journalist Brook Sabin talking about the Queen St and labelling it a disgrace.

The country’s most well-known street should be a celebration of our identity. Imagine if it were lined with trees, artwork, sculptures, pedestrians, and some of our best Kiwi retailers. There would be markets, lively restaurants and outdoor dining – a place people actually wanted to visit.

Most other major developed cities understand the concept. Melbourne has its laneways, filled with buskers, street art, shops and eateries. Wellington has the vibrant Lambton Quay; Singapore has Orchard Road, so good – a visit is considered one of the top things for tourists to do.

We, on the other hand, have a blend of boring. It’s pedestrian in every respect – well, except for being pedestrian-friendly.

….

The council is moving at a glacial pace. It has announced High Street, sitting off Queen Street, will be pedestrianised in a trial from October, to turn it into a “world-class, pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare” by the end of 2022. Three years? Just take the cars out now. Put up with the moaners, because we all know you’ll be proven right in the end.

Last year the council voted unanimously to “move” towards pedestrianising Queen Street. No date has been given. Because, boy, does the council know how to paralyse itself in inaction.

….

It’s promising to see other areas of Auckland, like the waterfront, begin to come alive. The soul of the city is starting to emerge. But the heart is still flatlining – in dire need of resuscitation.

Auckland’s city centre has improved immensely over the last decade and it certainly still has a long way to go but perhaps what is the most frustrating about the whole issue is just how long it all takes.

On Queen St, North of Mayoral Dr, there is not a single driveway or carpark entrance, there is no need for cars to be in there at all. And yet most of the space on the street remains dedicated to the movement of vehicles even though six times as many people are walking along the footpaths.

The city has long known and discussed the need to get the cars out of Queen St. It’s a change with strong public support and even though last year when the council voted unanimously to support the idea we’re still waiting and only looking to get a trial on High St later this year. Who knows when we’ll see anything for Queen St itself. As Patrick noted in a tweet in response to the article yesterday, anything positive faces an entire bureaucracy of resistance.

For example, there are engineers who demand traffic modelling and who refuse to believe the numbers showing that car trips to the city falling, there are legal teams who even go so far as to say there’s no proof Vulcan Lane is a pedestrian only street and there are planners who just ignore the council’s plans (and even their own strategies) and do what they want anyway.

If Auckland truly wants to become a world class city then it’s going to need to work out how to break through the bureaucracy and start working out how to deliver this stuff faster.

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77 comments

  1. In a similar vein, we used to see things like this brought forward when we had major events or showpieces. This is the first time in a long time someone has said “Oh no, we have a major event coming up, let’s not start any civic improvements until afterwards” when talking about something like APEC or the America’s Cup. It seems like these events are now excuses, instead of catalysts. That’s terrifying.

  2. “The council is moving at a glacial pace”, and its not just Queen St. There has been much talk about many projects but very few are being delivered. Yes the CRL main contract was signed off on 19 Aug but what about progress on:
    K’Rd
    New Lynn – Avondale cycleway
    Bus lanes
    Level crossing grade seperation
    LRT’s
    Pukekohe electrification

    Yes, like the CRL the latter projects also include the government but this isn’t an excuse for the lack of an implimentation schedule and getting things done.

  3. Auckland is in competition with other cities in the world. It is NZs silicon valley, head office for many businesses and with large a education, entertainment and tourist sectors.
    Those car only people who are against a more friendly downtown area are jeopardising our businesses and will quickly complain when there is any loss of a business to a more friendly Australia city

    1. This is true, and I think making the cbd more people-friendly as well as reclaiming the waterfront from PoA will improve our international competitiveness greatly.

  4. Lambton Quay is a noisy polluted windswept place. Not somewhere you can really enjoy outside very often. George St in Sydney is much better now the cars have gone and Bouke St in Melbourne is what id aspire too.

    1. At least Wellington city central zone is compact and walkable compared to the sprawling mess of Auckland. At least in Wellington, you can walk from the railway station to Courtney Place in 30-35 minutes.

      I do agree that Wellington city central zone should non essential vehicle free zone.

      1. The distance from Britomart to K Rd is shorter than from the Wellington railway station to the end of Courtenay Place. By distance Auckland’s CBD is just as walkable as Wellington’s, the biggest difference is Auckland’s has more hills ironically.

  5. AT doesn’t want any improvements to Queen Street until they have their light rail project ready. I mean if you give the people a beautiful pedestrianised mall free from cars, buses and scooters then they will probably like it so much the chances of getting trams in would be nil.

    1. We could make it a bus and pedestrian mall. One lane of buses in each direction, provision for stops, and turn the rest into pedestrian space. That would vastly improve the space, and would provide the equivalent to the light rail space.

    2. I can completely understand why they would want to factor in Light Rail. It would, if built, dominate the centre of the road.

      But if they were realistic and sensible they would know by now that it is highly unlikely to ever happen, an empty promise made by politicians and fronted by one in particular Transport Minister who has no idea what he is doing. And if this government does not survive for no other reason than it keeps breaking some very key promises then National will not be entertaining it. Simply bring on the next motorway project!

  6. What’s not pedestrian friendly about Queen St, it has footpaths down both sides of the street. How much space do you need to walk? Just another opinion piece from a greeny car hater. Yes Melbourne has beautiful laneways (but these are laneways not former roads), ‘Wellington has Lambton Quay’, um a road with footpaths. Crazy ideology from people that don’t have to drive to the CBD (probably work from home in Grey Lynn or something…)

    1. Kind of agree there Matthew.

      Get on with it? Why? And yep I know, asking this will not please the fashionable in this blog.

      Put aside politics and agenda’s and ask why are ratepayers expected to commit to what surely must be hundreds of millions (using High St’s $22 million as a ratio) to “upgrade” this place. Especially when there is NO guarantee that such spending will really change anything. I mean really what is 2019 Queen Streets reason for being because it certainly isn’t what it once was in its heyday?

      From everything I read here it’s not about attracting outsiders, in fact, its almost about keeping outsiders at bay. It’s about the population that lives in and around the Queen Street gully and if that is the justification then Auckland Council better be prepared to stump up exactly the same in each and every suburban town centre, because logic dictates that is all Queen Street really is. Can you see them doing it in downtown Manurewa? Nope! Highbury still has rather ugly street lights and pretty much the same street infrastructure put in place by the Birkenhead City Council back in the late 80’s shortly before they ceased to be, such is the lack of spending in that place.

      Queen St has been on the dying or at least transforming list for decades, probably since they pulled up the tram tracks in the mid 50’s and public transport access began its long descent from this exclusive zone. Suburban shopping centres then malls slowly sucked the life out of it and because Queen Street is the bottom of a hilly gully where you literally descend into it or climb out of it, its never been a great place to just go to. Architects ensured its history was erased slowly but surely. Its cold and windy thanks to the tunnel of high rises either side. And more than at any time in history it is just an utter pain in the arse to get into and if you are there, out of if you are an outsider, especially now Quay St is more or less closed. And if you take on board the opinion of many on this site and some political hopefuls, getting rid of car parking is a must, so it certainly is going to get easier to get to!

      I have heard all the arguments, the paths aren’t wide enough or pretty enough, there’s too much parking, there’s not enough trees and the latest, it’s the cars. It has typical CBD detritus in spades but none of the colour that Wellington has, ironically with motor vehicles, a place for begging and harassment. Add to that dickheads with a skin full who can’t handle their booze. Filth randomly occurs at any given path, be it urine or vomit. It does not feel inviting.

      And why would one go there at night? I was there last night, it’s just not happening and it doesn’t deserve to, it is a commercial district, not a recreational zone and it never will be. And there ain’t nothing there because it’s not really accessible to the wider Auckland populous. It dies at night except for people scuttling from one place to another.

      I know councillors are politicians and they buy into trends and want their legacy moment and look all future-focused but this is an enormous financial commitment to spend on one town centre and there is still no reason to go there unless you live or work there and there are plenty of those places in Auckland starving for investment.

      1. You could realise that the political buy-in for change from car domination to people-friendlier places is far easier where the ratio of pedestrians to cars is so high, and where the use of a car is so detrimental to the area. And realise that Queen St is indeed an efficient place to start doing this, to demonstrate possibilities to a car dependent population, so that other places can also start receiving improvements.

        You could look at how much money from the targeted rates in the city centre have been wasted because AT’s engineers and lawyers have put barriers up wherever they could, and realise that pioneering what indeed will be needed in the other town centres has cost the businesses and residents of the city centre dearly.

        You could look at the business success in the city centre. HoTC have been tracking it, we’ve shown it in posts, you’ve read it. But no, you choose to trot out various myths about Queen St, including that the businesses aren’t doing well. They weren’t doing well until a focus on public transport and people as being more important than cars started to change things. They’re doing fine now, and will do better once further improvements are made.

        1. “But no, you choose to trot out various myths about Queen St, including that the businesses aren’t doing well” Where did I say that? Queen St is what it is, a commerce centre. Heidi, you need to see the place in all its forms. It is not the Queen St of yesteryear.

          As I said, leave agendas out of it. Exactly what is this spending supposed to achieve? Because its targeting looks very much toward the immediate population and from those suburbs very nearby.

        2. In “The healthcare community needs to champion healthy and sustainable urban living spaces” – research released last month, they say: “In order to establish accountability for the urban determinants of health, the sectors of society most affected by the environment in question must be given the power to effect change. If urban areas are designed with local health and equality needs in mind, then they can better tackle the health and wellbeing of the local population.”

          Where you’re particularly wrong is in thinking this doesn’t also improve things for people who live outside the city centre. It does in two ways:
          – it improves the city centre for them when they are there (even people who drive in have more trips in the city centre on foot than they do in cars, surely? Unless they really are slugs.)
          – it improves the suburbs because by reducing the car domination of the city centre, fewer people drive through the suburbs to get to the city centre.

        3. There are far fewer empty shops in the Auckland CBD than most provincial city CBDs. Tauranga and Hamilton are just a sea of empty shops. One significant difference is Auckland has vastly superior PT compared to those cities. It is also increasingly more bike friendly. Queen St is grotty in a lot of places but it’s actually doing a lot better than many other NZ city centres. Of course it can do better and getting cars out or restricted would be a significant advance. But it wouldn’t solve the homeless problem which is a major negative along the length of Queen St, that’s a symptom of the wider issue of unaffordable housing/excessive population growth. And Lambton Quay is ‘vibrant’ only during business hours, outside of that it’s a deserted tomb.

      2. You appear to have conveniently forgotten about the CBD targeted rate. If all of the other town centres are paying an equivalent targeted rate than yes I agree the Council should stump up the same in every town centre.

        Not sure what your point about Queen St being dead at night is, you should see Sylvia Park at 8pm on a Wednesday.

        1. And Queen Street is not dead at night either. Wasp tends to forget there are 50,000+ people now living in the CBD, far more than Birkenhead or any of those other centres.

        2. It is no Courtney Place, not even close and if watching Netflix’s in your apartment is alive then why waste money on it?

        3. I don’t think Queen Street is attempting to be Courtenay Place, it is more closely aligned with Lambton Quay, which makes Queen Street look positively pumping in the evening.

        4. Courtenay Pl aint what it used to be either, its slowly morphing into a tacky red light district. Wellington is going backwards fast.

        5. In addition to the targeted rate, it’s worth pointing out that around 250,000 Aucklanders visit the City Centre on an average weekday. I’d hazard that’s more than the next twenty town centres put together.

          The comparison with Courtney Place is strange to be honest. The fact is that Auckland doesn’t have one the same, it’s got about four or five. Britomart, Viaduct, North Wharf, Fort Street, Aotea Square, K Road and Ponsonby Road are each about the same.

        6. Jezza – Lambton Quay is not for night life but for work day traffic between Monday to Friday work day traffic. Courtney Place between Cambridge Terrace and Cuba Mall were the nightlife is.

        7. Kris – agree. My point was that Queen St is more like Lambton Quay, in that it is the business part of town. As Nick says Auckland’s equivalent of Courtenay Place is North Wharf, Viaduct etc.

          At least I think it is now that I have kids I don’t really get out in the evening anymore!

      3. The easiest way to go to Queen Street by car is to park in either the Downtown or Civic car park and then walk to Queen Street. Pedestrianizing Queen Street will not change that.

        1. Exactly, any clowns claiming they need to drive down Queen Street to park in town obviously never actually do that and are just ranting ideologically about ‘car haters’.

          To drive to town You drive to the parking building and park there. Literally none one of them are on Queen Street.

      4. Waspman is quite correct, too much money has been wasted on Queen Street over the years – and for what? This street is grossly over rated and is not a nice place to go. Yes it probably should have been pedestrianised some time ago when the last major rebuild was done, but at the end of the day, even with being pedestrianised, it will still be a cold dirty street filled with beggars and people living on the streets, and drunks and idiots at night, which combined, make this street unsafe and unappealing. For many years now I have made a point of avoiding Queen Street whenever I am in the CBD as it is such a horrible place and I don’t feel safe there.

        The last ‘upgrade’ and rebuild of Queen Street was hardly much of an improvement – all the attractive Cherry blossom trees were removed, as were all the cheerful colourful red pavers which were installed in the 1980s. The new and very expensive grey slate pavers which replaced them are dull and show up all the urine and vomit stains. The dark grey colour makes this already dull shady street feel even more dingy.

        Waspman is correct that greater benefit would be made with the council spending money on upgrading more of the suburban town centres across Auckland and making these more pedestrian friendly with better public transport serving them.

        The development of suburban shopping malls has killed off a lot of the retail activity in many suburban main street shopping areas across Auckland, as well as Queen Street in the CBD. Places like Papakura and Manurewa the main streets are largely dead now with the big name retailers and decent shops having closed or moved. Ironically in both Manurewa and Papakura the railway stations are right next to the town centres and are in easy walking distance of all the retail streets. Meanwhile the new retail shopping centres built at Southgate and Takanini Village are right next to the Southern Line (NIMT) but there is still no railway station to serve them. They are primarily designed for cars. A railway station on the northern side of Walters Road would have both these shopping centres and the existing and large new residential areas which are continuing to be developed around Walters Road, to be within easy walking distance of a railway station, making train services far more practical and attractive to use. The roads around Takanini are very busy and congested, particularly during peak periods due to all the growth in the area, which means the bus services get stuck in the congestion as well. Buses don’t have the as much appeal as trains either. Building a new railway station at Walters Road would make so much sense but despite all this development being allowed to be built, there is still no station here!

        Other areas like Pukekohe have thriving main streets, largely due to the current absence of any large new shopping malls. But Pukekohe is not pedestrian friendly. The main street and all the roads leading off it are busy and full of cars and there are very few pedestrian crossings across any of these busy roads around Pukekohe, including the ring road around the town centre, which makes it difficult and dangerous for pedestrians to get to and from the railway station and the town centre. Even to walk along the full length of the main street (King Street), pedestrians have to dash between cars coming off the roundabout with Edinburgh Street which is the main road into Pukekohe from Drury, where there are signs advising “Pedestrians give way to motorists”!

        It is unlikely much change will happen with the current car dominant focus in Pukekohe, as the Franklin Local Board is controlled by members of the National Party and the local MP is a National MP. The National Party are well known for their blatant support for roads and giving cars priority over pedestrians and public transport.

        Auckland’s other top main street – Broadway in Newmarket, could really do with being made more pedestrian friendly. The last upgrade which was done in the same style as Queen Street, still left this street with narrow crowded footpaths and a busy four lane arterial road running along it. It is difficult to walk around Newmarket with how busy the footpaths are and how busy Broadway is.

        Investment in rebuilding Broadway in Newmarket would be more worthwhile than Queen Street as Broadway has far more potential and is a much more attractive, open and brighter street with more life. Broadway could be made far better with wider footpaths and installing light rail along the centre of it, which could link to the CBD and Hospital via a loop from Queen Street along Customs Street, Beach Road, Parnell Road, Broadway, Kyber Pass Road, Park Road, Grafton Bridge and K Road to rejoin at the top of Queen Street.

        Through traffic could be removed off Broadway with creating a new bypass route via Davis Cres by connecting Short Street with Suiter Street (through the old Lion Brewery site), which would link with the northern end of Gillies Ave on Kyber Pass Road, and then make Mortimer Pass into a two way road again, to rejoin Broadway.

    2. From a tourism point of view, Queen Street should be a pedestrian mall instead of the mess it is at the moment. There are alot of apartment blocks within less of a Km and that is not counting hotels from Queen Street.

      For the amount of foot traffic on Queen Street, the current foot paths are not wide enough.

    3. Well I am not a greeny car hater and I can tell you Queen St sucks. 1/ The footpaths are too narrow for the number of people using them. They were built years ago when the design method was to mark four traffic lanes, some parking or loading and use the bits left over as footpaths. The footpaths need to be wider to cope with the numbers of people. 2/ There are dickheads on scooters on the footpaths weaving among the pedestrians and then they just leaving the scooter in the way as an obstacle. Some ‘shit for brains’ at the Council allowed this to happen and now like cockroaches it will be hard to get rid of them. 3/ There are people in cars driving along Queen St for no apparent reason. It isn’t a through route it is a local road and should have no through function but since it has no vehicle crossings it should have an access function either. It is time to shut cars out as they have no purpose here.
      4/ AT managed to get buses into Queen St after the retailers had kept most buses out for years for amenity reasons. They are loud and dominate. No shopping area should have to put up with diesel buses.
      5/ They whole place looks tired and dull. A bunch of plonkers got rid of the flowering cherry trees that provided colour and amenity and replaced them with a few dull nikau palms. They replaced the deciduous trees in an act or arborial ethnic cleansing. now the place just looks sad.
      The simple solution is to make Queen street into the mall it should have been for years.

      1. Miffy – I totally agree with you. This is why most tourists flee Auckland after 1 night. Auckland central zone is not tourist friendly nor is its public transport network which is difficult to understand and use.

    4. How much space do you need to drive (a lot it seems)?
      You don’t need to be a greeny to see that cars are ruining the aesthetics of our main street. Would you cars driving though your lounge?

  7. Just to make this clear, the above “Matthew” is an imposter, as a decent Matthew would never play devil’s advocate on such a serious issue. How private motor vehicles continue to have access to the CBD is beyond me, it is not necessary, and indeed turns the Queen Street Valley into a smelly shadow land. One does not have to drive to the CBD, downtown has a train station (soon midtown and uptown will have one too), and multiple bus stops. Lime scooters, bike paths, and a ferry terminal. To drive signifies a serious lack of imagination, not to mention a heinous disregard for the environment and your fellow human types.

    1. Really? For example, for the 5th time in as fewer years than that AT have relocated Birkenheads “bus terminal” this time on the corner of Hobson and Quay Streets, using two unlit shipping containers as shelters with no seating or public information display. You negotiate it through cones, rooted footpaths and construction bollards. And it will move again and again because AT don’t do a centralised bus terminal, they use street corners and street corners always fall victim to the construction of all types.

      Sorry Matthew but PT like this run on this philosophy is not exactly screaming out dump the car now and come into the city now is it!

      1. Planning from the point of view of the driver is where we went wrong, Waspman. Try to shift gear, and look at things through the eyes of the road user who doesn’t drive. And from the inequity that 60 years of misspent investment has created.

        1. How on earth does that locate help AT’s PT philosophy that says the passengers can go find this excuse for a bus stop somewhere else this week?

        2. Bus stops are substandard throughout the city. Construction management and temporary traffic management is also substandard for pedestrians and public transport users throughout the city.

          What will change it? Your opinion that they should have a central bus terminal? Or concerted effort to demand a better focus on quality and amenity for pedestrians and public transport users?

          I think it’s the latter. One way we could start is by demanding AT honour its requirement to keep the through route zone of the footpath clear at all times. They need to design temporary traffic signs, for example, that either straddle the through route or somehow else aren’t plonked there.

        3. I think what can happen short term is to move that line to Wellesley Street. (what is the deal with Wellesley Street busway anyway?)

          I was on the NX2 a while ago, and I noticed right away that it intersects with way more bus lines than NX1, and you don’t land in the middle of a construction site. Connections to Britomart should be solved by running the red link bus properly and fixing connections at Victoria Park.

        4. It’s all tied in with the CRL works. They don’t want to do anything on the Wellesley Bus Corridor because they have to periodically close and dig up the street until the CRL is done.

      2. There’s a lot of construction going on at the moment. That’s a good thing long term. Therefore bus stops have to be moved around. Most people know it’s temporary/unavoidable and cope perfectly well. In fact the provision of containers as shelters is well above what you would have got even just a few years ago.

    2. Matthew, I realise there have been a few comments that have left me a wee bit confused which were obviously not yours!

      I highly recommend adding something else to your user name.

      And the other Matthew should too.

      1. The real Matthew is ‘Matthew the Democrat’, a proponent of democracy, could I suggest your mate be ‘Matthew the Communist’. So glad we have a thriving democracy where the voice of the people keeps ideological zealots at bay.

        A couple of points to consider, without cars in the CBD the majority of retail businesses die. Without cars/trucks how do the businesses keep their shelves stocked, yes that’s right their goods don’t get delivered on Lime Scooters or by train. Another point, there are, as someone pointed out 50,000 people living in the CBD, guess what, the majority have cars to do things like drive to work (in the real world PT doesn’t actually work for all people). Cars/vans also provide transport for the 1,000’s of tradesmen who repair lifts, fix roofs and do real work. I could go on all day. Matthew the Democrat 🙂

        1. As a proponent of democracy I assume you would support pedestrianising Queen Street if it were supported by the majority of residents?

          Do you have any evidence to back up your claim that the majority of CBD residents have a car?

          ‘Without cars/trucks how do the businesses keep their shelves stocked’ – Probably the same way shops in malls keep their shelves stocked, you can’t drive a delivery truck down the middle of Sylvia Park to access the front entrances of those shops.

        2. The majority of residents voted for a left leaning, pro multi modal council and have done since the super city was established. Removing cars from Queen street would be democracy in action.

        3. A lot of shops in Queen St do get their stock through the front door, it really needs the shared space model to address those issues. However that’s still a reduction of maybe 90%.

        4. The shops in the pedestrian zones in overseas cities haven’t closed down for lack of supplies, obviously…

          You commonly have exceptions for restocking during set periods of the week. You don’t need 24/7 access by car for that.

        5. Also there are many cities bigger than Auckland with a lot less roads than Auckland. Some have no car access at all. Maybe Matthew the Democrat has never left Auckland?

        6. I never fail to be amused how the simpletons equate pedestrianizing Queen St with “banning cars from the CBD”.

          Keep it up. Your contributions are being given the weighting they deserve.

        7. It also amuses me that so-called proponents of democracy fail to recognise that decisions that ruined our city like removing the trams and building Spaghetti Junction were made with no consulation whatsoever. I don’t doubt that Mr Democrat (as long as it suits him) is an old white man.

        8. “50,000 people living in the CBD, guess what, the majority have cars”

          Hahahahahahahah

          I wasn’t sure whether you were trolling or just completely out of touch until now. No one could possibly be this far out of touch so you must be trolling.

  8. There seems to be no compelling reason not to close Queen Street now. The Albert and Quay St works have ably demonstrated that taking such a step would likely have nominal impact on all the naysayers.

    However the article is full of hyperbole. Queen Street is already transforming. The makeover of a decade or so back was a vast improvement. Quality retail is replacing all the $2 shops.

    What I’d like to see is a timetable for completion – ideally alongside the new Q2 and Quay Street works and a plan to get rid of the vagrants

    1. “Plan to get rid of vagrants” – hopefully, you don’t mean just moving them on to elsewhere but you actually mean provide ways to help the homeless find good accommodation, healthcare and work?

  9. Back in the 1960s I envisaged, and I still hold to it now, Queen Street being a motor vehicle only space. Particularly trade and service vehicles. Pedestrians and shoppers would go up one floor. Imagine a full width, full length pedestrian zone at first floor level. All of the shop fronts would return to the lost art of window dressing, free of soot. Each busstop on Q Street would be adjacent to an escalator direct to the first floor. I could go on but should leave something for the planners.

    1. Rise above the problems we create? Reminds me of learning about ancient civilisations:

      “Turns out that for much of history, waste simply accumulated on floors inside dwellings. Residents would simply put in new layers of fresh clay to cover up the trash. Every dwelling was a micro landfill. When the floor rose too high, they raised the ceiling and doorways. The result was that most ancient civilizations rose (literally) on a pile of their own trash.”

      🙂
      The better alternative is to make our transport people-friendly, sustainable and healthy. Something you don’t need to rise above.

    2. “All of the shop fronts would return to the lost art of window dressing, free of soot.”

      And consequently, customers.

      Considering that in the minds of retailers, removing 2 carparks means certain business closure, what then of taking away the potential for any customer to access a store located at ground level?

    3. “Imagine a full width, full length pedestrian zone at first floor level.” – I am imagining it and it is awful. Dead and emppty as pedestrians dont want to have to walk up to another elvel so they dont inconvenience cars.

      Can you please name a place where this has worked? Anywhere in the world.

  10. We should have built the light rail as soon as we became a super city instead of going off on a tangent with the city rail loop. That way we could have had a pedestrian free right now.

    1. CRL has the higher priority I reckon. Without it Britomart Station will never come even close to achieving its potential. I have 2 PT options to get to work. Either a train from Kingsland to Britomart (6stops) or a combination or 25 and 27 buses from Dominion Road thru Mt Eden Rd, Symonds St and down to Britomart. Believe it or not the bus option is usually quicker especially earlier in the morning before peak traffic builds. Apart from the completely daft dwell times the trains have at stations, the main reason they’re so slow is that the Western Line trains are almost always held up at Newmarket while the dead end of Britomart is managed.

  11. The high st pedestrianization trail should also expand to Queen St.

    At least initially starting from weekends and Friday night.

    They can simply do some tactical urbanism such as putting a few cones to block off the cars during weekends and allow food trucks and markets to open on the road.

    They could initial leave one shared lane for the City Link Bus.

  12. “If Auckland truly wants to become a world class city then it’s going to need to work out how to break through the bureaucracy and start working out how to deliver this stuff faster.”

    Maybe we could invite AT to write a guest post about what they are doing to break through the inertia? They must be doing something, and they’d get a lot more respect if the public knew what it was.

    I think they think they’re being pummelled from all directions. But AT should look at how Aucklanders voted and submitted on the big plans. I imagine most Aucklanders are just expecting leadership to get the plans underway with as little fuss as possible.

  13. How much more construction does Auckland want?

    Just in the CBD there’s rebuilding of Quay Street, Albert Street, K’Road, all the Wyndham-Pakenham block, Wyndham peninsula, everything around Britomart, and multiple other small ones.

    That’s before CRLL main works transform a whole block, and Pitt and Beresford.

    Great to be impatient, but OMG Matt the CBD can’t take any more simultaneous street rebuilds.

    1. Mate, you want to be in Amsterdam right now if you think Auckland has a lot of street works going on.

      The bit of Amsterdam inside of the Emporers Canal is smaller than the Auckland city centre and I saw about 4km of roads under construction in a single day (yesterday).

      Digging up Queen Street would have no traffic impact because Queen Street has no function for traffic.

  14. I thinnk you will find that Communism is generally considered the opposite of Capitalism, not democracy, but I take it that you still call such people “reds” and do not believe in the greater good? To address your points, I believe in private motor vehicles not being a part of the city landscape. This does not encompass delivery or trade vehicles. I lived downtown for six years without a car, and was a happier person for it. No PT is not perfect, and there are many improvements to be made. But neither is it as bad as it could be. I can’t claim to be a democrat as you, I have faith in the system but it has yet to justify that belief. But yes I do catch a bus or the train to work in winter, and bike in summer, so ideologically we may well be in disagreement. Thank you allowing me to keep my single name moniker, I am a footballer at heart and we all know that real footballers only have on name! Enjoy your weekend

  15. I think what this issu, and yesterday’s on bus improvements, boils down to ‘what you measure matters’. Roading projects have models that state ‘for X million dollars we’ll get a Y minute improvement in travel time’, it doesn’t matter that it’s a load of cobblers to challenge you have to either do your own modelling or dissect the assumptions of their model (if you can even get them). PT and active mode improvements tend to have more qualitative arguments and get stuck in the weeds of consultation because anyone can make an equally qualitative argument against them.

  16. Yes Queen St should be pedestrianised yesterday. Would we allow deliveries in the early hours or just in surrounding streets? In any case loading zones in surrounding areas could be increased, all on street parking except for mobility could be removed in these areas. Hopefully cargo bike type systems could be increased as we progress. Yes we need Miffy’s cherry trees back and other colour, on rainy bleak winter days we need it. Scooter parking bays & bike share bays setup. They should get on with the Wellesley St busway somewhat. Why wait for the CRL to be complete.

  17. Councillors and high ranking officers should be embarrassed that they haven’t done this yet. Ffs, I can design a semi-permanent trial layout for you for free if you want!!

    Council voted to move towards this on the middle of last year. A temporary solution should have been in place by Christmas, if not earlier.

  18. I agree with Waspman about Queen Street. Too much money has been wasted on Queen Street over the years – and for what? This street is grossly over rated and is not a nice place to go. Yes it probably should have been pedestrianised some time ago when the last major rebuild was done, but at the end of the day, even with being pedestrianised, it will still be a cold dirty street filled with beggars and people living on the streets, and drunks and idiots at night, which combined, make this street unsafe and unappealing. For many years now I have made a point of avoiding Queen Street whenever I am in the CBD as it is such a horrible place and I don’t feel safe there.

    The last ‘upgrade’ and rebuild of Queen Street was hardly much of an improvement – all the attractive Cherry blossom trees were removed, as were all the cheerful colourful red pavers which were installed in the 1980s. The new and very expensive grey slate pavers which replaced them are dull and show up all the urine and vomit stains. The dark grey colour makes this already dull shady street feel even more dingy.

    Waspman is correct that greater benefit would be made with the council spending money on upgrading more of the suburban town centres across Auckland and making these more pedestrian friendly with better public transport serving them.

    The development of suburban shopping malls has killed off a lot of the retail activity in many suburban main street shopping areas across Auckland, as well as Queen Street in the CBD. Places like Papakura and Manurewa the main streets are largely dead now with the big name retailers and decent shops having closed or moved. Ironically in both Manurewa and Papakura the railway stations are right next to the town centres and are in easy walking distance of all the retail streets. Meanwhile the new retail shopping centres built at Southgate and Takanini Village are right next to the Southern Line (NIMT) but there is still no railway station to serve them. They are primarily designed for cars. A railway station on the northern side of Walters Road would have both these shopping centres and the existing and large new residential areas which are continuing to be developed around Walters Road, to be within easy walking distance of a railway station, making train services far more practical and attractive to use. The roads around Takanini are very busy and congested, particularly during peak periods due to all the growth in the area, which means the bus services get stuck in the congestion as well. Buses don’t have as much appeal as trains either. Building a new railway station at Walters Road would make so much sense but despite all this development being allowed to be built, there is still no station here!

    Other areas like Pukekohe have thriving main streets, largely due to the current absence of any large new shopping malls. But Pukekohe is not pedestrian friendly. The main street and all the roads leading off it are busy and full of cars and there are very few pedestrian crossings across any of these busy roads around Pukekohe, including the ring road around the town centre, which makes it difficult and dangerous for pedestrians to get to and from the railway station and the town centre. Even to walk along the full length of the main street (King Street), pedestrians have to dash between cars coming off the roundabout with Edinburgh Street which is the main road into Pukekohe from Drury, where there are signs advising “Pedestrians give way to motorists”!

    It is unlikely much change will happen with the current car dominant focus in Pukekohe, as the Franklin Local Board is controlled by members of the National Party and the local MP is a National MP. The National Party are well known for their blatant support for roads and giving cars priority over pedestrians and public transport.

    Auckland’s other top main street – Broadway in Newmarket, could really do with being made more pedestrian friendly. The last upgrade which was done in the same style as Queen Street, still left this street with narrow crowded footpaths and a busy four lane arterial road running along it. It is difficult to walk around Newmarket with how busy the footpaths are and how busy Broadway is.

    Investment in rebuilding Broadway in Newmarket would be more worthwhile than Queen Street as Broadway has far more potential and is a much more attractive, open and brighter street with more life. Broadway could be made far better with wider footpaths and installing light rail along the centre of it, which could link to the CBD and Hospital via a loop from Queen Street along Customs Street, Beach Road, Parnell Road, Broadway, Kyber Pass Road, Park Road, Grafton Bridge and K Road to rejoin at the top of Queen Street.

    Through traffic could be removed off Broadway with creating a new bypass route via Davis Cres by connecting Short Street with Suiter Street (through the old Lion Brewery site), which would link with the northern end of Gillies Ave on Kyber Pass Road, and then make Mortimer Pass into a two way road again, to rejoin Broadway.

    1. Wow such cynicism. “..For many years now I have made a point of avoiding Queen Street ..”
      Perhaps it’s improved a bit lately and you haven’t seen it. Anyway these improvements will help with all these concerns you have. Why do you think it is how it is today? It’s a lot to do with the car thoroughfare through it making it unpleasant.

      Money may have been wasted in the past but to pedestrianise won’t be money wasted this time. It makes sense to do the most densest street in Auckland as an example first. More and more people are moving into the area living here which should see change to the vibe. The homeless situation should improve with more accomodation being provided for them & the housing crisis slowly sorting things out.

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