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Auckland Transport

Nelson Street Cycleway

Nelson Street Cycleway will link the Upper Queen Street bridge to Quay Street via a shared path and separated cycle lanes in 2 phases.

Nelson Street Cycleway has funding from the Government through the Urban Cycleways Programme (UCP) and is being jointly delivered by the NZ Transport Agency, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport (AT).

Project status:
     Phase 1: Complete
     Phase 2: Detailed design underway
Project zone: Central

Project overview

Nelson Street Cycleway will form a crucial part of the cycle network in Auckland, connecting the shared off-road pedestrian and cycling path on Upper Queen Street to the waterfront at Quay Street.

The cycleway is a mixture of shared pedestrian and cycling paths and two-way, on-road cycle lanes separated from the general traffic by raised buffer islands.


  • Links with the Northwestern cycle route, Grafton Gully and the waterfront, creating a walking and cycling spine along the western side of the CBD.
  • Provides a key transport route into and around the city, part of a new network of cycleways planned for the city centre. See a map of the planned city centre cycling network (PDF 3.42MB)
  • Helps make urban cycling a safer and more attractive transport choice.
  • Supports increased numbers of people choosing to cycle to the city for work, education or recreation activities (increasingly important due to the major improvements proposed in the city in the coming years).
  • Provides thousands of local residents with better travel options within the city (over the last decade, Auckland's CBD has become one of the most densely populated parts of the country).
  • Suitable for cyclists with a variety of confidence levels.

Find out more about AT's cycling and walking programme.


  • Phase 1: Construction completed; open 3 December 2015.
  • Phase 2: Consultation on design closed 5 October 2015.

Project details

The project has 2 phases:

  • Phase 1: creates a link from Upper Queen Street to Nelson Street via Canada Street and a new bridge to the old Nelson Street off-ramp. The new bridge and the off-ramp will be exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists. Phase 1 then continues down on the west side of Nelson Street to its intersection with Victoria Street.
  • Phase 2: continues on the east side of Nelson Street and Market Place and connects to a future cycleway at Quay Street. This phase also includes a cycling faility along Pitt Street between Beresford Rd and Nelson Street.

A cycleway along Victoria Street, Hobson Street and Lower Hobson Street route was investigated but the current route was the preferred option as it was shorter and more cost effective, has fewer conflict points with driveways, side roads and bus stops, and improves access to Wynyard Quarter and the Viaduct Harbour.

Phase 2: Nelson Street to Quay Street and Beresford Square to Nelson Street

As with Phase 1, Phase 2 of the project focused on developing Auckland's network of cycle routes and providing connectiviity with the Quay Street cycleway.

Feedback report

Public consultation for Phase 2 was open from 10 September to 5 October 2015. We have been carefully considering and refining the design since then. We received 196 feedback submissions in total. 

Download the Phase 2 feedback report (PDF 688KB)

Decisions and changes

As a result of the feedback and redesign, we are proceeding with these changes:

  • Section 1 (Nelson/Victoria Street intersection to Quay Street)
    The cycle route will now use Market Place. It will link with the Westhaven to City cycle route and use Customs Street West and Lower Hobson Street to connect with the Quay Street Cycleway.
  • Section 2 (Pitt Street/Beresford Square to Nelson Street)
    The section between Nelson Street and Karangahape Road will be a shared path, rather than an on-road cycleway. This may change once the City Rail Link is complete

Next steps

We are in the process of developing a detailed design to enable construction of the route. This involves:

  • A detailed design of stage one of the cycle route as far as the Market Place/Pakenham Street East intersection will be finished in January 2017. This phase of the project has involved further engagement with directly affected residents, businesses and property owners during late November and December 2016.
  • A detailed design of stage two (along Customs Street West and Lower Hobson Street) is also under development. 
  • Stage one construction is expected to start in April 2017, with stage two following afterwards.
  • Construction of both stages is expected to finish by mid 2017.

Phase 2 initial proposed changes

Section 1: Nelson Street/Victoria Street intersection to Quay Street

  • From the west side of the Nelson Street/Victoria Street intersection, people on bikes will cross diagonally to the east side of Nelson Street where phase 2 begins. From this intersection the two-way on-road separated cycle lane continues all the way to Wyndham Street. The cycleway will be separated from traffic by a separator island which will be 15cm high and 80cm wide.
  • On the east side of Nelson Street, a general traffic lane and 9 car parking spaces will be removed. To offset this parking removal, AT is investigating the possible installation of 13 new car parking spaces on the north side of Wyndham Street.
  • At Wyndham Street, the facility changes to an off-road shared pedestrian and cycling path. People on bikes will use a new signalised crossing next to the pedestrian crossing to cross Fanshawe Street into Sturdee Street where the cycleway continues as a shared path adjacent to the retaining wall. The cycleway will be a shared path in this section due to the need to retain and extend the existing on-road bus layover. 
  • The cycleway continues as a shared path along Lower Hobson Street connecting with the waterfront at Quay St where a future project is planned to extend the cycleway to the eastern suburbs. 
  • On the east side of Sturdee Street adjacent to the proposed shared path, there are 24 car parks that need to be removed to extend the existing bus layover. This is required to accommodate AT bus services displaced by the City Rail Link enabling works. The car parks will be removed as part of the cycleway project.

See the proposed section 1 design plans (PDF 1.85MB)

Section 2: Pitt Street/Beresford Square to Nelson Street

  • This section connects the Nelson Street cycleway with future cycle facilities planned for Karangahape Rd. At this stage the cycleway stops/starts at Beresford Square and will join into the future Karangahape Rd facility. The cycleway is on the west side of Pitt St.
  • Between Beresford Square and Hopetoun Street, the facilities are a two-way on-road cycle lane separated from general traffic with concrete traffic islands similar to those on the Beach Rd cycleway.
  • At the intersection of Pitt Street and Hopetoun Street, we are considering 2 options that improve pedestrian and cyclist facilities, while accommodating bus movements (get details of the options).
  • After this intersection, between Hopetoun Street and Nelson Street, an off-road shared pedestrian and cycling path is proposed on the west side of Pitt Street.
  • On the west side of Pitt Street, 7 car parks will be removed and the loading zone will be relocated to Beresford Square.
  • On the east side of Pitt Street, between Greys Ave and Vincent Street, 7 car parks will be removed to accommodate a new bus stop.

Options for the Pitt Street/Hopetoun Street intersection

Option A: Combined left-turn and through movement

The on-road cycle lane turns into an off-road shared pedestrian and cycling path prior to the intersection, this is facilitated by a kerb and footpath build-out at the southwest and northwest corners of the intersection.

The free left turn for general traffic from Pitt Street to Hopetoun Street will be removed and the existing through lane will be combined with the left turn lane. The left turn will be signalised.

In this option, light phasing will ensure pedestrians and cyclists have plenty of time to cross Hopetoun Street, but it will reduce opportunities (green light time allocated) for vehicles to turn left from Pitt Street to Hopetoun Street.

Option B: No left turn

The on-road cycle lane continues up to the intersection where cyclists have the same green light time as general traffic travelling through the intersection.

Shortly after they cross the intersection, the on-road cycle lane will change to an off-road shared path. With this option, the left turn movement will no longer be permitted from Pitt Street  to Hopetoun Street. This will require drivers to find an alternate route to their destination.

This option is likely to reduce the average time that pedestrians and people on bikes will need to wait before crossing Hopetoun Street.

See the proposed section 2 design plans, including both intersection options (PDF 972KB)

Changes to parking

As of February 2016, car parking is not permitted on the west side of Nelson Street between Wellesley Street and Victoria Street.

Traffic flow on this important arterial route in the city centre was being restricted as vehicles were queuing in the left-hand lane behind parked cars (permitted all day except 7am to 10am) that some drivers mistakenly thought were turning left.

This was also creating some safety concerns as drivers made erratic manoeuvres to move back into traffic. 

AT monitored the situation, looked at solutions, and consulted with local landowners and tenants before removing all car parking on this section. The reallocation of this space will improve traffic flow and safety.

Artist's impression of the Nelson Street offramp in the evening

Artist's impression of the Nelson Street offramp in the evening

Phase 1: Nelson Street from Union Street to Victoria Street West

Phase 1 included the following changes on Nelson Street:

  • Instead of having a cycle lane on both sides of the road, a two-way cycle route has been installed on one side of the road and bikes can travel in both directions within it. The western side has a smaller impact on property access and on-street parking.
  • The cycle route is 3m wide, with a physical separation, typically 1m wide, from general traffic lane vehicles.
  • Cycle-crossing facilities at the intersections to improve safety by enabling cyclists to cross separately (with cycle traffic signals).

The project required work in the following streets:

1. Union Street to Cook Street

Removal of a traffic lane.

2. Removal of left turn from Nelson Street to Cook Street

In order to minimise congestion and the likelihood of traffic queuing back onto the motorway system, the left turn onto Cook Street from Nelson Street will no longer be permitted from the "main" Nelson Street traffic lanes. The left turn to Cook Street will, however, be possible from Nelson Street lower lane; as will the right turn to Cook Street and through movement to Nelson Street from the Nelson Street lower lane.

Traffic volume surveys conducted by AT indicate that there is not a high volume of traffic currently turning left into Cook Street from Nelson Street. Other alternatives for left turning traffic include:

  • Union Street - Vehicles use Union Street to access Cook Street.
  • Wellesley Street - Vehicles currently accessing the City Works site from Cook Street can do so from Wellesley Street West (left turn from Nelson Street into Wellesley Street West), Cook Street via Union Street as described above or Cook Street via left turn at Nelson Street lower lane.
  • Another access to Cook Street is via Wellesley Street West, then Sale Street.

3. Cook Street to Wellesley Street West

Removal of all 8 on-street parking spaces and shortening and moving bus parking over one lane.

4. Wellesley Street West to Victoria Street

There were 17 car park spaces along this section. The phase 1 design removed 7 on-street parking spaces and kept 10 park spaces in off peak periods all day, Mon-Fri except between 7am - 10am (a clearway 7am - 10am Mon-Fri).

5. Removal of the free left turn at the intersection with Victoria Street.

The left turn will be signalised to provide a safe waiting area for pedestrians and cyclists to cross.

In September 2014, the Grafton Gully and Beach Road project opened to create a new link on the eastern side of the central city. This joint initiative between AT and the NZ Transport Agency has been popular, with usage reflecting a welcome addition to the cycling network.


AT consulted on phase 1 of the Nelson Street Cycleway between 11 December 2014 and Monday 16 February 2015.

Consutlation on phase 2 was held in September 2015.

Download the phase 1 consultation report (PDF 600KB)

For more information on this project

Contact Auckland Transport