Birkenhead Avenue, Birkenhead - Transit Lane Birkenhead Avenue, Birkenhead - Transit Lane

Proposal status: closed 4 April 2019. Last updated 21 September 2021.

Reference number: NOP1819-013

Proposal update

In November 2020 we advised you that funding had not been secured yet and we were not able to estimate a construction date.

Funding has now been secured for this project and construction is now planned between the 18th October 2021 and 22nd November 2021. Contractors will issue a 48-hour notice to all affected residents prior to construction work.

We've proposed changes in your area

In March 2019, we proposed a new 400 metre southbound T3 lane operating from 6:30am to 10am, Monday to Friday on Birkenhead Avenue between Recreation Drive and Onewa Road in Birkenhead.

In addition, we proposed a new signalised mid-block pedestrian crossing on Birkenhead Avenue located north of Waratah Street. This would replace the existing pedestrian refuge island further to the north. The layout of lanes leading to the Onewa Road intersection would also be altered to support the T3 lane. Broken Yellow Lines parking restrictions would be painted along the western kerb as there would no longer be enough space on the road to accommodate on-street parking.

Download the proposal drawings for Birkenhead Avenue:

Why the changes are needed

The proposed T3 lane is expected to improve the flow of city-bound traffic down Birkenhead Avenue by adding another southbound lane which will be kept free of parked cars during the morning peak. These changes will be most effective for buses as well as cars with 3 or more occupants. This is particularly important given Birkenhead Avenue is a key arterial route used by commuters and several bus routes to reach the city centre.

The proposed signalised pedestrian crossing is needed to improve safety for people crossing Birkenhead Avenue to access the bus stops in this location as well as the various amenities located down Recreation Drive.

Proposal outcome

We have made changes to the design based on community feedback. Below explain the details of what the changes:

  • We will reduce the length of the T3 lane to now end immediately north of Zion Road. This will allow increased distance for drivers to access their required lane.
  • These changes will be reviewed for their effectiveness within 12 months of being established.

Download the updated drawing for Birkenhead Avenue (PDF 303KB)

The proposed changes will proceed to the next stage of detailed planning and once the budget is confirmed, it will proceed to be constructed.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our proposal and gave us the chance to better understand your community and concerns. A summary of this feedback and our responses to community questions and concerns is below.

Feedback received

  • Many respondents supported the proposed changes expressing that this would reduce congestion and improve the experiences for bus passengers and car poolers.

Additional requests for the proposed T3 lane

  • A range of respondents suggested a clear-way would be a more suitable option to reduce congestion on Birkenhead Avenue in replace of the proposed T3 lane. Others requested that a clearway be introduced between Glenfield Road through to Birkenhead Avenue and Onewa Road intersection.
    Due to the frequency of buses in the morning peak and the number of bus passengers, we are not considering a clearway.
  • A large number of respondents requested that a T2 lane be considered instead. These respondents raised concerns that the proposed T3 lane would be too onerous for road users during this period, and that a T2 lane would provide a more balanced compromise with the same desired effect. A range of respondents also requested that any new lane configuration proposals, such as a T2 or T3 lanes, be limited to operate no later than 9am.
    Due to the frequency of buses in the morning peak and the number of bus passengers, we are not considering a T2 lane. This is also consistent with the operation of Onewa Road.
  • Several respondents suggested any new lane configuration proposals, such as T2 or T3 lanes, be introduced initially as a trial in order to fully evaluate the effects any changes will have on traffic and the operation of the road.
    Due to the creation of a new lane and not the repurposing of an existing lane, a trial is not being considered. This proposal is expected to be permanent. These changes will be reviewed for their effectiveness within 12 months.

Additional requests for the proposed pedestrian crossing and signalisation

  • We received a variety of suggestions for the location of the proposed signalised pedestrian crossing. These suggestions generally focused on moving the pedestrian crossing further north, with some suggesting near Recreation Drive and others suggesting as far as the Pupuke Road / Glenfield Road intersection. OR requested this new crossing be located where the existing traffic islands are. OR a handful of respondents suggested the proposed signalised pedestrian crossing be replaced by a signalisation of the Waratah Street / Birkenhead Avenue intersection which could include a pedestrian crossing.
    We are not currently considering full signalisation of intersections. This may be feasible in the longer-term. The proposed location was chosen due to proximity to bus stops and pedestrian demand at this location.
  • A handful of respondents requested that we make amendments to the signalisation frequencies at the Birkenhead Avenue intersection, suggesting traffic could be alleviated by increasing the duration vehicles turning left on to Onewa Road are afforded during peak travel times.
    Changes to the traffic signals have already been considered and some minors changes have been made to the phasing to improve traffic on Birkenhead Avenue.

Bus stop relocation concerns

  • Some respondents raised concerns regarding the effect the bus stop relocation and road markings changes will have on the ability of buses to adequately manoeuvre these spaces.
    The bus stop relocation should have no impact on bus movements.

Parking concerns and mobility issues

  • A variety of respondents raised concerns over the proposal’s removal of parking on Birkenhead Avenue and the disproportionate effect this would have on both the ability of residents to park outside their homes, as well as customers visiting local businesses. Several respondents requested we make provisions in this proposal to mitigate this loss of parking by offering other parking options elsewhere. One respondent suggested berm space along Birkenhead Avenue could be replaced by additional parking spaces.
    Based on parking surveys there is sufficient parking available on side streets. Only 20 park spaces are being removed permanently. Other affected parking is only restricted in the morning peak which should have minimal impact on businesses.
  • Other respondents also raised concerns about the proposal’s effect on resident’s ability to exit their driveway during the T3 lane’s operation. These concerns were particularly focused around the residents of Zion and Waratah Street.
    Exiting Waratah Street is unlikely to be an issue based on this proposal. Exiting Zion Road is currently an issue. We are reducing the length of the T3 lane so this issue will be reduced under our proposal.

Concerns around enforcement

  • Many respondents, both for and against the proposal, raised concerns over the lack of enforcement of existing nearby T3 lanes such as on Onewa Road. These respondents requested any new lane designation restrictions on Birkenhead Avenue be adequately monitored and enforced.
    Enforcement is done on a regular basis, however, this cannot be done constantly.

T3 prioritisation of city-bound traffic

  • One of the most frequent and significant concerns respondents raised in this consultation was the way the proposal design prioritised city-bound traffic at the Birkenhead Avenue / Onewa Road intersection over other directions of travel and the effect this would have on the operation of the road.
    Approximately half of people using the Birkenhead Avenue / Onewa Road intersection are heading toward the city. And of those people heading toward the city, 2/3rds are on a bus. That is why priority is given to those people.
  • A wide range of respondents were concerned that motorists wanting to continue straight onto Birkenhead Avenue, or alternatively turn right onto Highbury Bypass, would be forced to que behind those wanting to turn left onto Onewa Road. This feedback was particularly focused on the effect this will have on buses using these routes, particularly those servicing the Birkenhead Ferry terminal. These respondents were critical of the short distance the design affords non-T3 traffic to turn into the left turning lane after the T3 expires. Similarly, significant concerns were raised regarding the relatively short distance this proposal would leave T3 lane vehicles before the Onewa Road intersection to get into straight and right turning lanes, thereby effecting the operation of all three options at this intersection.
    Based on public feedback the T3 lane will now end immediately north of Zion Rd. This will allow increased distance for drivers to access their required lane.
  • One potential solution to this concern that was raised by a range of respondents was for AT to introduce two left turning lanes onto Onewa Road, one for the T3 traffic and one for non-T3 traffic. Some respondents suggested AT could acquire land on the corner of Birkenhead Avenue and Onewa Road to achieve this.
    A double left turn onto Onewa Rd is being considered as part of a long-term intersection design. It is not being done as part of this proposal.

Cyclist safety

  • Some respondents raised concerns over the effect this proposal will have on the safety of cyclists, with the termination of the T3 lane at the Onewa Road intersection potentially creating an unavoidable pinch point for cyclists meeting other road users eager to get into the correct lane. Several requested that additional cycling facilities be added to the proposal such as a clearly marked cycle lanes.
    There is expected to be no change to cyclists based on existing driver behaviour. Cycle facilities leading to and through the intersection are to be considered and included as part a long-term upgrade.

Flow effects

  • Some respondents raised concerns over the proposal’s potential flow on effects on adjacent streets such as Lake Road, the Sylvan Road and Northcote Road onramps as well as Pupuke Road, Raleigh Road and Ocean View Road.
    We are not changing the number of vehicles moving along the road, just the speed at which some of them move. This proposal will have little impact in terms of flow on effect.

Additional requests outside of proposed scope

T3 lane related requests:

  • Request to also introduce a T3 lane to the other side of Birkenhead Avenue to manage afternoon traffic.
  • Request for a T3 lane to be extended further north from the intersection of Roberts Road and Glenfield Road all the way to Onewa Road.
  • Request for T3 to be extended further north to Albany Highway.
  • Request for an advertised public meeting regarding the proposal.
  • Request for AT to launch a car sharing APP.

Response: The above requests are outside of the proposed project and will not be investigating further.

Public transport related requests

  • Request to look into creating alternative bus routes other than Birkenhead Avenue in order to ease congestion.
  • Request to make the city-stage fee from North Shore a ‘flat price’ so bus users could park anywhere without the motivation to get within one stage fee of the city.
  • Request to implement a Bus lane instead of a T3 lane.
  • Request to increase the buses servicing Birkenhead Avenue, especially the 95 that goes to Britomart. Request to make this service double decker.
  • Request for additional buses to the University from Birkenhead Avenue.

Response: The above requests will be passed to the relevant team in Auckland Transport to consider.

Parking restriction related requests

Request for broken yellow lines (NSAAT) parking restrictions outside NO. 153 Birkenhead Avenue to improve traffic flow onto Recreation Drive.

Thank you for your suggestion. We will consider painting broken yellow lines (NSAAT) outside 153 Birkenhead Ave as this would improve the operation of the intersection.