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Auckland Transport

Mt Albert town centre upgrade

Mount Albert town centre upgrade will revitalise the heart of one of Auckland’s older suburbs, celebrating its unique character while creating a safe, pleasant, lively environment that locals can enjoy and take pride in. The upgrade is an Auckland Council and Albert-Eden Local Board joint project that will be delivered by Auckland Transport (AT).


Project status: Design
Project zone: Central


Project overview


Mt Albert is a key transport hub with more than 2,100 people using public transport every day on top of the thousands of road users travelling through the centre.

Over the next 30 years, Mt Albert is expected to change significantly, so the new streetscape design seeks to acknowledge the past and create a legacy for the future by reconnecting the town centre with our maunga (mountain) – Owairaka Mount Albert.

Artist impression of Mt Albert town centre

The town centre upgrade will include:

  • More trees, landscaped garden areas and a pocket park on the corner of Mt Albert and New North Roads.
  • Better lighting and signage.
  • A wider, consistent footpath width through the town centre with new street furniture, and drinking fountains.
  • A new pedestrian crossing.
  • A raised cycleway, new cycle racks and improved connections through the town centre.
  • More bus shelters, seating and a wider footpath improving connections between bus and rail, including the Outer Link to the Western Line.
  • Better pedestrian access routes to the Mt Albert train station through new signage and footpath widening.
  • Better management of stormwater run-off through increased planting and landscape design.

Map of the town centre upgrade area

Benefits

  • A safer, more appealing environment for pedestrians, cyclists, commuters, road users and retail and restaurant businesses.
  • More places to pause and rest and enjoy.
  • A wider footpath allows for more street activities and gives greater opportunity for on-street dining and arts and culture.
  • A greener, more attractive environment that retains on-street parking wherever possible.
  • An environment that reflects Māori cultural values.

Timeline

  • August 2014 - Mt Albert town centre upgrade incorporated into the Albert-Eden 2014-2017 Local Board Plan.
  • November 2015 - Public consultation on draft concept design.
  • February 2016 - Auckland Council concept design formally signed-off by Albert-Eden Local Board.
  • June 2016 - Auckland Council award Design and Build contract.
  • July 2016 to February 2017 - Auckland Council and AT finalise detailed design in series of internal workshops, consultation with Albert-Eden Local Board, a number of external stakeholders and the public.
  • December 2016 - Minor advanced enabling works; consultation on right-turn options from New North Rd into Mt Albert Rd; site inspections revealed an old concrete road layer which may need to be removed before new surfacing can be laid. If this is done, other utility providers may also want to upgrade their networks as part of the project.
  • Late January 2017 - Consultation feedback analysis.
  • Early February 2017 - Final decision on right-turn option.
  • March 2017 - Consultation report and AT decision available online.
  • 18 April 2017 - Construction starts.
  • February 2018 - Mt Albert Town Centre upgrade complete.
  • 2018 - Post-upgrade traffic monitoring.

Intersection of New North Road and Mt Albert Road

We have chosen to proceed with a right turn from a combined straight through and right turn lane on New North Rd in to Mt Albert Rd - option 1 during consultation. The right turn will be permitted at all times (not restricted to certain hours of the day). This option includes full length cycle lanes.

Mt Albert Option 1 - right turn at all times

Mitigating traffic impacts

The traffic impacts of implementing this option will be mitigated by adjusting the traffic signals at the New North Road/Mt Albert Rd/Carrington Rd intersection as well as optimising the traffic signal phasing at the New North Road/Richardson Road intersection.

The New North Rd, Mt Albert intersection will be carefully monitored over a period of months during and after construction. This will include traffic speeds and volumes on adjoining local streets to assess any possible impact.

It’s possible that further mitigations may need to be considered, such as further optimisation of traffic signal phasing for different times of the day, additional signage or re-routing traffic that’s not destined for the town centre.

Any reduction in traffic volumes through the town centre as a result of the new Waterview Connection on State Highway 20 will further assist in minimising traffic impacts.


Feedback results

We asked for feedback on four options for the intersection of New North Road and Mt Albert Road from 5 to 16 December 2016. We received a total of 1,485 responses.

Of those 75% preferred option 3 (cycle lanes, ban right turn into Mt Albert Road), 19% option 4 (shortened cycle lanes, right turn into Mt Albert Road retained) and 3% for both option 1 (cycle lanes, right turn into Mt Albert retained) and option 2 (cycle lanes, right turn permitted off peak only).

Key concerns that came out of the public consultation included:

  • Retaining cycle lanes at the intersection.
  • Pedestrian and cyclist safety in the town centre
  • Traffic impact on side streets as a result of banning the right turn into Mt Albert Road.

Final decision

Although the majority of respondents chose to ban the right turn, further investigation indicates that the option that best addresses key concerns is option 1 which retains the right hand turn into Mt Albert Road from New North Road and includes full length cycle lanes. We have taken a number of factors into consideration including traffic flow through the town centre, traffic impacts on surrounding local streets and making Mt Albert a great place to walk and cycle.

Read the full Mount Albert town centre upgrade consultation analysis report (PDF 621KB, 53 pages).

Alternative options proposed for the intersection of New North Road and Mt Albert Road

Option 2: Right turn banned part of the time

Mt Albert Option 2 - right turn banned part of the time


Right turn into Mt Albert Rd allowed during off-peak hours, when vehicle flows drop low enough.

Main positives:

  • More flexible approach, allowing right turns at some times of the day to be retained.

Main negatives:

  • Traffic flows are very high throughout the day – the right turn might need to be banned for say, 12 hours a day to avoid the congestion.
  • Risk of unsafe manoeuvres when ban is active.
  • Risk of driver confusion.

Option 3: Right turn banned at all times

Mt Albert Option 3 - right turn banned at all times

Right turn into Mt Albert Rd banned permanently.

Main positives:

  • Intersection delays reduce by 10-30%
  • Logical “regional” re-routing option (Richardson Rd -> Owairaka Ave).

Main negatives:

  • Wider road network accessibility and movement adversely impacted.
  • Right turning traffic re-routed through local roads.
  • Increased right turn movements into Lloyd Ave from NNR.
  • Increased right turn movements out of Allendale Ave onto Mt Albert Rd.

Option 4: Changed layout with right turn allowed at all times

Mt Albert Option 4 - changed layout with right turn allowed at all times

Provide dedicated right turn lane in place of removed cycle lanes and allow right turns into Mt Albert Rd at all times

Main positives:

  • Right turn into Mt Albert Rd retained (from a dedicated right turn lane), with associated network benefits.
  • No additional traffic re-routed through local roads.

Main negatives:

  • 40m of the proposed cycle lanes south of the intersection will be removed (creates safety concerns that will require further assessment, mitigation and design amendment).
  • Less confident cyclists would likely ride on the footpath in a section already constrained for pedestrians.
  • Removal of 5 further car parks south of the intersection (out of 39 parking spaces in total).
  • 25m of footpath widening previously proposed south of the intersection returned to existing widths.

AT's preferred right-turn option during consultation

Option 4 was preferred by AT as it provided appropriate wider road network benefits:

  • This is a strategic intersection and it’s important to retain full accessibility and movement to each approach through this intersection.
  • Better supports road network legibility and functionality.

Prohibiting the right turn would have:

  • adverse road network impacts, diminishing benefits outlined above.
  • an impact on some 1,200 vehicle movements per day making this turn.
  • redirected right-turning traffic and increase the propensity for rat-running through local streets.
  • introduced some additional safety risks:
    • some traffic may perform U-turns on New North Road to head east onto Mt Albert Road.
    • increase right turn movements into Lloyd Avenue.
    • increase right turn movements out of Allendale Road.

For more information on this project

Contact Auckland Transport