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Auckland Transport

Queen Street changes Queen Street changes

Auckland’s city centre is transforming to become a world-class place that is thoughtfully designed and reflects the changing way we use our city. 

Project status: Construction
Project zone: Central

Project overview

Guided by the City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) – the 20-year vision – the city centre and waterfront will continue to undergo exciting changes over the next few years.
The completion of the City Rail Link (CRL) will be accompanied by new public spaces and better transport connections within the city centre, including the Downtown waterfront, Wai Horotiu Valley, Aotea Quarter and Karangahape Road.

At the heart of the CCMP is the Access for Everyone (A4E) concept. A4E proposes to transform how people and freight move in the city centre. By enabling a decisive mode-shift away from private vehicles, it aims to make better use of finite city centre space by prioritising space for pedestrians while ensuring access is maintained for emergency and servicing vehicles.

Aucklanders were overwhelmingly supportive of Access for Everyone, with 82 per cent of submitters endorsing the concept through the City Centre Masterplan consultation.

Project details

We are consulting on some proposed network changes that will change the way vehicles use Queen Street.
These network changes are required because in mid-2021, some city centre bus routes will change as a result of the up-coming closure of the Victoria and Albert Street intersection for the CRL construction.

As part of these route changes, some buses will be returning to lower Albert Street following the completion of the CRL construction and streetscape improvements in that area. In the short-term, this will mean more buses will be using Queen Street.

We are proposing to implement special vehicle lanes to some sections of Queen Street. At the same time, we will introduce some turning restrictions to maintain bus reliability for the thousands of bus passengers travelling around the city centre every day.

Wai Horotiu Queen Street Valley Project overview

Auckland Council are making changes in Wai Horotiu Queen Street Valley as part of an Innovating Streets pilot, to make it a place to come to, not through. The changes will be designed to provide more and better-quality space for people and to prioritise Aucklanders who walk, cycle, and use public transport in the area.

In March 2020, Auckland Council’s Planning Committee instructed the beginning of Queen Street pilot by March 2021.

A wider project team is working to design quality streetscape improvements for Queen Street. The type of improvements will reflect the feedback we received through the co-design process with stakeholders last year, and through ongoing discussions with Queen Street users.

The detailed streetscape design will be communicated at a later date and Auckland Council will be inviting and encouraging Aucklanders to come and experience these improvements and share their views on the changes.

Proposed network changes

Different zones exist along Queen Street, they work together as follows: 

Phase 1: late May 2021

CRL construction in Lower Albert Street has now been completed which means buses servicing West Auckland can now return to that area. While upper Albert Street remains closed for CRL construction, these buses will need to use Queen Street, increasing the overall volume of buses using the street.

Proposed changes include:

  • A bus lane in the northbound direction on Queen Street between Shortland Street and Customs Street. This would operate at peak times (7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm).

There would be no traffic restrictions in the southbound lane, to ensure loading and delivery services can still occur in the area, such as guests being able to access to the two hotels on this section of Queen Street.

Other proposed changes are:

  • A full-time northbound bus lane between Mayoral Drive and Wakefield Street.
  • Traffic restrictions at the intersection of Queen Street and Mayoral Drive.
  • Closing the Lorne Street exit into Wellesley Street beside Auckland City Library.
  • Closing the exit from Fort Street into Queen Street (in place since the COVID-19 installations).

To reliably provide for the increase in the volume of northbound buses, a new bus lane is proposed north of Mayoral Drive. Private vehicles would not be able to drive northbound from this point forward and would have to use Mayoral Drive to travel further into the city. For access to this section of Queen Street, vehicles would travel along Mayoral Drive East to Wakefield Street, and then turn left into Queen Street.

Although the bus lane will prevent access to loading bays on the western side of Queen Street the loading bays and mobility parking on the eastern side will remain.
At the same time as these proposals would be made, a fully electric bus fleet will be introduced to the CityLink service - the first step in creating the Zero Emissions Area (ZEA) for the city centre.

Phase 2: June 2021

Following the reopening of the Wellesley and Albert Street intersection in mid-2021, the Victoria and Albert Street intersection will close to allow for further CRL construction.
This requires diversions to the 35 bus routes which currently use Victoria Street, concentrating more buses in the Wellesley Street area.
We are responding to this significant network change in a way that prioritises this section of Queen Street as a people and public transport priority area.

The following is proposed:

  • Fulltime bus lanes in both directions (effectively creating a bus-only section) on Queen Street between Wakefield Street and Wellesley Street

There are no loading bays or property accesses in this section, which is primarily used for serving bus passengers.

From July, with these network changes and the newly electrified CityLink service, more than 50% of bus trips on Queen Street will have zero emissions.
This people and public transport priority approach is consistent with the long-term outcomes of the City Centre Masterplan and the Wai Horotiu Queen Street Valley Pilot, which seeks to reduce through-traffic and make Queen Street a place to go to, not through.

What these proposed changes would look like on the street

Mayoral Drive to Wakefield Street

  • Northbound bus lane - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Existing southbound traffic lane, mobility parking, and loading zones.
  • Retained temporary streetscape.

Wakefield Street to Wellesley Street.

  • Fulltime bus only lanes in each direction, with no traffic access.
  • Physical space used for extended bus stops.

Wellesley Street to Victoria Street

  • One lane in each direction for general traffic.
  • Existing northbound bus lane remains.
  • Existing northbound and southbound loading bays.
  • Retained temporary streetscape.

Victoria Street to Shortland Street

  • One lane in each direction for general traffic, including buses.
  • Existing northbound and southbound loading bays.
  • Improved streetscape using retained kerbside space.

Shortland Street to Customs Street East

  • Northbound bus lane between 7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm weekdays. Outside of these times, it will be a general traffic lane.
  • Existing southbound traffic lane and loading zones.
  • Improved streetscape and a pocket park on Fort Street.

We want to hear from you

Aucklanders can now provide their feedback on these proposed network changes.

Download the maps for the Queen Street changes project (PDF 1MB)

Give your feedback on the Queen Street changes

Submissions for your feedback will close on May 7, 2021.

Your feedback will help us identify any improvements to refine the network changes being made on Queen Street. We want to know of site-specific issues you think would affect the proposed network changes.

At a later date, Auckland Council will be seeking people’s feedback on the new streetscape improvements, through on-street surveys and through the online Social Pinpoint tool.

Future steps for Queen Street

Subject to the outcome of the feedback, Auckland Transport will implement these network changes (in the two phases outlined above), ahead of the Victoria Street intersection closure in mid-2021.

Changes made on Queen Street will be monitored and, where necessary, we will alter them, responding to public and stakeholder feedback as well as operational findings.

During this time, and in response to monitoring and feedback, Auckland Council will decide on the next steps for the pilot, including options for the retention, adaption or removal of the temporary arrangements that are currently in place on Queen Street.

For more information on this project

Contact Auckland Transport

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