The refresh of the Council’s City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) in 2020 including the vision of transform SH16 through Grafton Gully into a multi-way boulevard as part of plans to support revitalisation of this part the city and improve connections to towards Parnell and the Domain. The multi-way boulevard would see Stanley St and The Strand changed from a pseudo motorway into a tree lined boulevard that supports people and development but also improves freight movements to the port.

The full multi-way boulevard is likely many years away, however, Waka Kotahi and Auckland Transport are currently consulting what they call The Strand Optimisation Project make some shorter-term changes to improve the corridor.

The proposed improvements include:

  • A separated shared user path – The shared user path connects to the existing Grafton Gully Shared User path just prior to Alten Road. This will be separated from the road to improve safety.
  • A Special Vehicle Lane (SVL) – A special vehicle lane will be created along part of the route to improve travel efficiency for freight and vehicles with multiple occupants. The SVL is proposed to be operational between 7-10am and 4-7pm (Monday-Friday) in both directions – depending on the outcome of additional traffic modelling and feedback. Outside of the SVL operational time, the lane can be used by general traffic. Similar to other SVL around the city.
  • Bus stop removal/relocation – Two bus stops along the strand will be relocated slightly to accommodate new pedestrian crossings. The bus stop on The Strand near the northern end of Sudbury Terrace will be removed.
  • New pedestrian crossings – In total, there will be 10 new crossings in the project area. Three of these are new level signalised pedestrian crossings along The Strand, plus one on Gladstone Road, one on Nicholls Lane and the other on the Stanley Road slip lane to Beach Road. These crossings will all be flat to allow large vehicles, trucks and emergency vehicles to cross easily. There will also be four raised crossings at Ronayne Street, Ngaoho Place, Cotesmore Way and Sudbury Terrace. All signalised crossings will be activated when people press the call button only. This will help to manage the flow of traffic along the road.
  • Intersection improvements – Minor improvements are proposed at the SH16 / Alten Road / Nicholls Lane and Stanley Street / Beach Road / Parnell Rise signalised intersections. The camber of the road will be adjusted along The Strand in the vicinity of the St Georges Bay Road intersection to help reduce instances of truck roll-over events which have occurred in the past.

They say the benefits of these changes would see:

  • 25,000-30,000 additional freight tonnes per day moving along the road
  • 50% increase in cyclists with 70 – 80 new cycle trips per day
  • Reduction of serious injuries over 10 years.

It’s good to see these agencies looking to make some shorter-term changes rather than just waiting, potentially decades, for the full vision to realised. It’s also pleasing that this is multi-modal and not just purely about vehicle flow.

The additional pedestrian crossings are particularly welcome as the area is quite hostile to anyone outside of a vehicle right now and this will help improve that. There are however already a lot of issues with speeding and red light running through here so it’s important that these new crossings of The Strand also include enforcement via red-light cameras or it will only be a matter of time before a pedestrian is injured, or worse.

The new shared path will make it easier to get from the Grafton Gully cycleway to Tamaki Dr. Shared paths are not ideal but for a low-cost interim solution is okay. There are two concerns here:

  1. First, some parts do look quite narrow and largely just relabelling an existing footpath as a shared path
  2. The shared path stops at the rail overbridge leaving a ~60m gap. They this is out of scope due to the cost. Are cyclists just meant to go back onto the road and jostle for space with trucks here?However, given there’s only ever single lane turning right from Quay St or left from Tamaki Dr at any one time and the second southbound lane over the bridge is only just a left turn only lane into Gladstone Rd, it seems should remove one southbound lane, nudge the remaining lanes eastwards and continue the shared path so that it actually connects to the cycleway.

The southern part of The Strand already has four lanes in each direction, making it easy to convert one each way to a special vehicle lane. In order to get enough space to extend those most of the existing on-street parking is being removed – there will be just six spaces retained.

However, anyone who has been along The Strand during the day will normally see the footpaths on the Southern side packed with parked cars and the agencies are planning to formalise a bunch of those. In total 39 carparks are being removed from The Strand while 35 new ones will formally be added (12 to The Strand and 21 to Shipwright Lane with an additional two loading zones on Shipwright Lane). There will also potentially be parking allowed the SVLs outside of peak times.

All of the footpath parking has only occurred due to AT’s decision not to properly enforce it (yet at the same time claim to need more funding). Does formalising this set a precedent that if you park illegally enough that AT will just change the rules to make it legal?

Formalising all of this footpath parking while not also seeking to manage what already exists (through pricing) seems to go against AT’s existing and likely new parking strategy. At the very least, these new spaces should be subject to that and enforcement but there’s no mention of it in the consultation.

As for the special vehicle lanes, why not just make them 24/7?

A few other comments:

Gladstone Rd Intersection – Like the rail overbridge, improving this intersection is also considered out of scope, yet the addition of a traffic light controlled pedestrian crossing at Balfour Rd suggests they expect pedestrians on the eastern side of the road to make a 200m diversion. How many will instead just dash across the wide open mouth of Gladstone Rd?

At the very least, they could narrow those lanes down a bit to help in lowering speeds for vehicles travelling to/from Gladstone Rd.

St Georges Bay Rd – Changes to the chamber to help prevent truck rollovers, like happened last year, are welcome but like with Gladstone, it seems odd there is nothing done to improve this intersection which is make more confusing by the odd service lane that connects to it and then runs parallel to The Strand. One of the things you’d think would be useful to fix is how pedestrians are meant to cross it. There’s quite a large expanse of asphalt to cross without even a pedestrian refuge and the kerb cut on the Northern side of the intersection leads directly into a carpark which could be confusing for those with low/no vision trying to navigate the area.

Overall there are some useful changes here but the project could be a lot better with a few additional tweaks.

Consultation on these changes closes on 17-April (next Monday).

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  1. While cycling that route I was clipped by a truck trailer. The driver moved from the right lane into the left lane on the corner into the rail overbridge. The driver underestimated that I was also traveling forward so they needed a lot more space to pass. If that section is out of scope then I really can’t support this plan.

  2. Problem is that there is a major clash of functions along the Strand. On the one hand it is a major traffic route connecting the Port to the motorway network. On the other hand, the Strand is Auckland’s major Design hub for upmarket furniture and design stores etc. The two are not really compatible. Plus, the road is helluva wiggly, unnecessarily so. Alongside that, it is a low point and so all the stormwater likes to gather there, as we have seen recently, plus there is some of Auckland’s more crappy town housing alongside the road, and the added excitement of railway tracks everywhere. I’d say: Its a disaster! Rip it up and start again.

    1. If goods are to be delivered to and from the port by train rather than trucks, per the Mayors wishes, then port motorway access isn’t required and the streets become a lot safer.

        1. For the few of those there are existing oversize routes. This doesn’t mean it needs a motorway.
          More from the Mayor today implying travel demand management and on delivering busways:
          “Fixing Auckland’s infrastructure does not begin with large-scale investment in new projects. First, we need to do a better job of managing the infrastructure assets and public transport services we already have,”
          “We need to get more out of Auckland’s existing transport system, before starting on the next mega-project.”
          “This involves harnessing technology, completing busways in the eastern suburbs and much-needed northwest, adding dynamic lanes to move buses faster without losing retail parking, and optimising transport networks to get Aucklanders moving faster, and more conveniently.”

        2. “…..adding dynamic lanes to move buses faster without losing retail parking”

          So general traffic lanes for vehicles will be sacrificed? The journey for the moving car compromised by the stationary ones?

        3. “So general traffic lanes for vehicles will be sacrificed? The journey for the moving car compromised by the stationary ones?”

          No, this is politician talk for “See, I am doing something, but if your bus is stuck in traffic at 5pp, when retailers want car parks, *I will* back-stab any Auckland Transport proposal to add a part-time bus lane.”

      1. Trains are only efficient with bulk goods like coal, grain or liquids in big tanks. For anything that can be loaded on a pellet or container it is more efficient to load it straight onto a truck rather than load it onto a train then off into a stack and then onto a truck. People prefer lower costs to higher costs.

        1. Rail freight has only retreated to the bulk goods market because we mis-price road freight. Or more precisely subsidising it so generously that rail has been unable to compete for so long that it entered a death spiral of asset under-investment and even further service decline and competitiveness.

          Road freight (trucks) do almost all of the damage to our road networks, yet these are maintained and expanded by citizens (general taxation), private vehicle users (fuel tax), and local residents (rates), as these costs are only partially by road freight itself (RUCs).

          These subsidies distort price signals and the benefits of intermodal competition, meaning we have an under utilised rail freight system and a road freight market that instead of focussing where its superior attributes shine (delivery) is instead using assets and causing damage on long haul routes ideal for rail (regardless of type of load).

          Not only is road freights’ system damage subsidised, but it also imposes other costs on society and the environment through crashes, emissions, and other pollution, that it doesn’t cover.

          This is all very inefficient, and bad capitalism, and could be improved, ideally we’d have some kind of a libertarian party and lobby group high-lighting these distortions instead of complaining about useful transfers (eg PT subsidies), but…

          so it goes.

        2. That was funny. We have a government and Council shredding money to build a rail tunnel for passenger rail. We fund a rail system for freight with practically no user pays and somehow you see a subsidy for roads where $6billion comes from direct RUCs and $6.7billion from fuel taxes. Sure $4.8billion comes from ratepayers but that is used to maintain road assets so buses can run along with cars and trucks. It also funds footpaths and cycleways, shopping street upgrades and pedestrian crossings.

          If rail didn’t get a top up of $830million it would close down. It is a Georgian invention that is slightly better than canal boats at moving goods but shares the problem of a limited network and can only survive if more efficient trucks are regulated or over taxed. It does have an advantage with goods moved in large tanks or bins.

    2. From the NZTA FAQ:
      There is a separate project working on a stormwater upgrade along a section of Stanley Street which will be included alongside this project during construction.

      ASM and Auckland Council are looking at existing and future stormwater management for the wider catchment and implications for the transport corridor. This may include upgrading the stormwater network in this area. Healthy Waters, a department within Auckland Council who are responsible for stormwater management in Auckland, advised they have a current project under construction which will connect the last section of major twin 2.5m-diameter stormwater pipes from Quay Street to the harbour outfall. Once completed, the connection should help reduce the risk of flooding along SH16 The Strand and Beach Road areas under moderate to heavy rainfall events.

  3. I work here, practically anything will be an improvement. I’m happy there will be more pedestrian crossings as they’re badly needed.
    There are many deficiencies with the plan as pointed out in the article, but overall this is a win for anyone on foot or bike.

  4. The major complicating factor down here is that this is state highway and so Waka Kotahi is the road controlling authority not AT.
    Unlike most of the country it seems that maybe a misguided belief in strange and mysterious powers (or something) prevents there from being a proper delegation of powers from WK to AT to let AT do anything along the state highways in Auckland. It won’t be that the AT parking wardens choose not to enforce along here – they have no power to do so.
    So, in many ways it is odd, and encouraging, that they are proposing some sort of joint action here.

    But maybe they and the Port could spend a little bit more money and build a ramp in the port land so that the freight trucks could go straight into the port at that intersection rather than forcing them along Tamaki Drive to the Solent entry.

    1. On WK’s SH corridors, which of these were their fault, and which were AT or Council’s, Translex?

      – failing to address the problem of footpaths saturated by too many vehicle crossings?
      – making the danger to pedestrians worse by not enforcing the parking regulations?
      – allowing the lack of parking enforcement to create entrenched patterns of offending?

      1. It will have been the fault of AT and WK and the old Auckland City Council at different times. Because in the past there probably has been functioning delegation from WK or Transit back in the day. But right now there is no delegation to AT so the responsibility for all those things currently rests solely with WK. Which is dumb because this urban street stuff is not their strong suit.

    1. Jimbo – do we know where to? or when?

      Or is it going to be one of those occasions where he says “Move it on Friday, cos I’ve got a tennis practice that afternoon” ?

      The man is a loose unit. I hope Auckland is happy with the way they voted, because there’s no one else to blame except themselves!

    2. Nobody is dumb enough to let him. Can you imagine the additional cost to every item imported? All we need to do is charge the port company a market rent and they would immediately reduce their footprint and start using the remaining land effectively. The real problem was Mike Lee making it 100% public owned.

      1. +1.

        There are market-based solutions to many (but not all) problems. We need to start applying them to the Port, CBD parking and the use of the inner city roading network, amongst others.

        Then we’d really know what people valued and what needed building.

        1. Nice to see a another free market advocate! Most of the issues we have in the world are because we are not pricing stuff correctly. For example wrecking our environment is normally free, it should be very expensive.
          “Can you imagine the additional cost to every item imported” – maybe with correct pricing we wouldn’t import so much crap.

      2. “All we need to do is charge the port company a market rent and they would immediately reduce their footprint and start using the remaining land effectively.”

        Because that’s what corporations in a semi-monopoly position do!

        No, wait, they actually lobby to get exempted, and cry bitter tears about jobs and local economy and unfair burdens until some politician pats them on their heaving backs and goes “there there, we know you are important. Here, have a subsidy.”

        [I know, then it wouldn’t be a market rent anymore, so I accept that you weren’t saying that. But I am just pointing out that the port being a private company would in no way make the issue go away in practice. Look at our South Island aluminum production…

  5. The Strand rail station is used for Te Huia and the Wellington train.
    Do the current bus stop provide easy transfer to Britomarts buses ferries and trains. Maybe we should reccomend that this is considered in the submissions.

  6. Many conflicting feelings about this. On the one hand, if we wait for every street to get a full-on makeover like the “Grafton Boulevard” concept, we get maybe one every couple of years, meaning most of Auckland stays sh*te and also, it’s so much more likely to get blocked by some blockhead politician. Incremental imprivements can still be significant.

    On the other hand… *another* shared path? And then not even all the way? So basically, riding on the bridge on a relatively narrow footpath, or on road with all the trucks? Sigh. I still hope it gets built, but I wish we’d actually get serious on higher minimum standards.

  7. The Strand Multiway Boulevard was a major part of the Auckland City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) refresh. As part of this, a lot was invested in obtaining agreement and buy-in from the many parties involved with this area.

    Here is a detailed interactive map:

    This agreement (subsequently endorsed through public consultation and political approval) allows further detailed design, with development of proposals. The aim of the Strand Optimisation project should be to deliver improvements that can be folded into the already-agreed long-term vision.

    1. It seems AT have settled into an attitude of “if it is a project repairing an unliveable street then any plans to do it properly are *by definition* a waste of rates.”

      However, the really expensive projects that are gobbling up the budget – supporting sprawl or creating extra traffic capacity – are being waved through enthusiastically.

      It’s dystopian and very, very sick.

  8. I have written a submission asking that people’s health be the target for this, cut down on carparks and private vehicles using the route, streamline freight until the rail network and coastal shipping can handle our stuff. I walked off Quay St into The Strand the other day but wouldn’t do it by choice, it is as scary as Neilson St Onehunga, Lunn Ave Maungarei or Lake Road Belmont. Britomart Train Station is barely 15 minutes slow walk from either end of The Strand so the fight against private motor vehicle over use must continue. Watching the motorway from the last Onehunga Express at 2.30pm was delightful, although awful to imagine the CO2 being blasted into our lungs and the atamosphere. Seeing another carpark they call the motorway justr goes to prove that Efeso was correct, and our greatest enemy is our addiction to machines, and controlling them. As a train / bus / bike / jandals / sneakers / pumps person it is easy moving around the city, but inside a car the most stressful experience one can imagine. The relaxed interior of a packed Southern Line Train into town this morning was exactly how everyone should start their morning, happily chatting / reading/ listening to music, almost anything you like on a train. Let us hope that Waka Kotahi has enough courage to work against themselves, He Kotahi He Tangata He Waka Ourtearoa and most importantly AO MAKAURAU!

  9. I guess better than nothing, or waiting forever, but the lack of link from the domain north for active modes is a big omission – the amenity around the ASB tennis center is really terrible

    1. “…..the lack of link from the domain north for active modes is a big omission – the amenity around the ASB tennis center is really terrible.”

      Look at an aerial shot of Melbourne Park and the CBD as a backdrop. Surrounded by greenery and with good walking/active mode links from the city.

      Now look at wasteland around ASB.

  10. Let’s finish light rail, air port access, harbour crossing, water upgrades, pot holes, and climate change before pretending to do something else. Mind you alot of people must have been earning their income by consulting and planning this project that won’t happen in in the next 50 or so years even if then. See Port of Auckland relocation,cycle way along harbour bridge ( only cost 50 million+ to be told not possible) I would really like a breakdown on who got paid how much. Auckland to Hamilton rail service, etc etc

  11. Look it would cool if they would build a station here as well that would serve the metro and regional trains

  12. I guess a sensible solution requires considering the best of both worlds. We must be empathetic to those dependent on car parks to live, work or get around. Therefore, a good solution would be establishing a new car park building on the plots of vacant land alongside The Strand. Then all roadside car parks can be “removed” while mitigating all the negative consequences of such an unpopular “move”.

    1. Lol a new carpark building so we induce more driving in this hell hole of an area?

      Ideally we would try get rid of most driving and connect the city to the Domain and Parnell / waterfornt

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