Great North Rd between Grey Lynn and Karangahape Rd is one of Auckland’s most important urban corridors. It’s a corridor ideally suited to redevelopment with zoning that allows for it, and a lot has already happened, it has good public transport links with almost all buses to the city from the West and Northwest travelling along it, and it has a good grade for cycling.
Auckland Transport have launched a (lengthy) consultation for changes to Gt North Rd between Grey Lynn and Karangahape Rd as part of their connected communities programme. In general the proposal looks good, adding dedicated cycleways, improving bus lanes as well as upgrading pedestrian amenity and safety.
Here’s what AT say about the corridor.
Great North Road is a major corridor in Auckland central, carrying large amounts of traffic in and out of the City Centre. Over the next five to ten years, the area will change considerably. With more residential apartments being constructed and less industrial activity occurring, the population close to this project’s section of Great North Road expected to grow by approximately 24% by 2031.
Under the Unitary Plan, the section of Great North Road that this project is addressing, will have a mixture of land use areas. However, much of this is zoned for high-density residential housing, some of which has already been developed. Over the coming years, the population in the area, is predicted to grow significantly.
Buildings of four to six storeys are allowed within the project area. These new housing developments mean Auckland Transport has to react and improve the infrastructure which serves them. Improved access to reliable public transport and safe walking and cycling infrastructure is key, as many new developments have limited access to private vehicles.
With this increase in population comes the need for better community transport facilities. By making public transport, walking and cycling safer and more attractive, we can create better connected communities in the central city, and improve traffic flow for people and businesses.
And the key details
The proposed improvements include:
- Eight safer and more effective bus stops, removing six stops to improve bus efficiency.
- A change to bus lanes operating hours from 7-9am to 7-10am and from 4-6pm to 3-7pm.
- Three additional signalised pedestrian and cycling crossings, and upgrades to the existing three.
- Separated 1.6m wide on-road cycle paths on each side of Great North Road, with a 0.4m wide physical separator between the cycleway and the bus lane.
- Four loading bays, suitable for large car transporters, for use outside of bus lane hours.
- Approx. 115 parking spaces removed to address safety issues around visibility and to make space for the cycleways.
- Reconfiguring car parks to create 10 new P60 near the top of side streets where they intersect with Great North Road (includes Coleridge Street, Northland Street, Elgin Street, Beaconsfield Street, Grosvenor Street and Scanlan Street) off Great North Road.
- The removal of the flush median strip down the centre of the road.
A small number of trees may need be removed to make room for these changes but would be replaced where possible by up to 60 new trees. There is limited space to replace these trees due to utilities requirements, but we would work with Auckland Council on options to ensure as many of the trees could be retained.
And some of the sample images of what it will look like.
Side streets are getting raised tables, though I’m not sure why the limit line is up on the table where the pedestrians are walking.
Floating bus stops so cyclists can roll on through
Car transporters have been a huge issue on this stretch of road, often blocking bus stops and pedestrian crossings.
The biggest thing that seems to be missing here is more trees. It’s great AT will be adding 60 but would be better if they could add even more.
It’s also pleasing to see that AT have support for the project from both the local business and residents associations. That should hopefully help stop some of the typical opposition we would see to a project like this.
Chair of Grey Lynn and Around – the Grey Lynn Business Association, Paul Stephenson, says upgrading Great North Road is well overdue.
“There is huge potential to revitalise the areas between Karangahape Road and Great North Road and what happens with the road is critical for the future of local business,” Mr Stephenson says.
“Any roading upgrade has to work for communities as well as commuters. This is a once-in-a-generation chance to connect Grey Lynn to the city and build a better place for new businesses along the Great North Road ridge.
David Batten, of the Grey Lynn Residents Association, says this is a prime opportunity to realise the potential of Great North Road and do even more than what is proposed.
“The Great North Road precinct has the potential to become a boulevard of international significance with a thriving streetscape that is safe for both pedestrians and cyclists.
“We have just released a community led vision for Great North Road and it’s more than just the planned removal of parking, the addition of cycle lanes, bus stops and pedestrian crossings.”
Here’s the residents association vision, which includes this image.
One thing that is somewhat weird is just how long consultation is with it being open till 7 May.
Of course you may remember this isn’t the first time that AT have consulted on a proposal with them also doing so back in 2017. It’s frustrating that they’re doing all this again 4 years later, and also frustrating that if given the go-ahead, it’s not likely to start construction till 2022/23 – it looks like my 2019 predictions were mostly accurate.
There have at least been improvements to that old proposal though. Most notably that I can see there’s:
- Better treatment of side streets, including raised tables now.
- Better treatment of bus stops with floating stops – the previous one had the bus stop platform shared with the cycleway, like at Victoria Park.
- The Bond St intersection gains pedestrian crossings on all legs, removing a legless crossing – the previous plan was still missing one.
Overall a good project and is worth supporting so jump in there and give some feedback.
More projects like this please AT.