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. AT is planning a range of improvements on Wellesley Street as part of the ongoing development of the midtown area.
- Project overview
- The Wellesley Street Bus Improvement project
- Loading zones and servicing
- We want to hear from you
- Project background and the City Centre Masterplan
In readiness for the opening of the City Rail Link (CRL) in 2024, designs are being prepared that will transform the areas around the midtown Aotea Station entrances on Wellesley Street West and Victoria Street West.
These designs will make the entrances accessible and welcoming for the thousands of people who will arrive there by bus and train.
On Wellesley Street West, between Albert Street and Queen Street, Stage 1 of the Wellesley Street Bus Improvements (WSBI) project will deliver:
- improved facilities for the large volumes of bus passengers.
- wider footpaths for the additional people expected in the area as a result of the CRL opening, bus operations or future business and residential development.
- an improved midblock crossing between Bledisloe Lane and Elliot Street.
The WSBI project responds to the City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) by removing buses from Victoria Street to allow for Te Hā Noa Victoria Street linear park (Te Hā Noa). It is also part of the proposed City Centre Bus Plan, which is currently out for consultation (until 24 October 2021) and includes Wellesley Street becoming the east-west bus route through midtown.
Auckland Transport and Auckland Council are working together to engage with the public on these interdependent and transformative projects.
Ultimately, the WSBI project will deliver significant upgrades to bus infrastructure, the streetscape, and the pedestrian environment along the full length of Wellesley Street between Victoria Park and Grafton Gully. These improvements will be delivered in stages over the next decade.
The current focus is on Stage 1, which is the section of Wellesley Street West between Albert Street and Queen Street. Here, the project will deliver wider footpaths on both sides of the street, six westbound and six eastbound bus stops, and a wider and improved pedestrian crossing between Bledisloe Lane and Elliott Street. New paving and road surfacing, street furniture and lighting will improve the look, feel and safety of the street.
Consultations carried out as part of the CCMP and the project’s Indicative Business Case, supported this central area of Wellesley Street becoming a bus-only section and we are currently investigating how we can prioritise buses here while limiting other vehicle movements to local access and essential vehicles only.
Construction is expected to start in 2023 and be complete in time for the Aotea Station opening in 2024. The street will remain open while the works are completed and the project team will work hard to minimise disruption in the area.
For more information on Te Hā Noa go to https://progressakl.co.nz/projects/te-ha-noa-victoria-street-linear-park/. Auckland Council is delivering this project, which is also planned to be implemented in stages.
Loading and servicing are critical elements of the day-to-day operation of the city centre.
As the city centre grows and develops, there will be changes to loading zones to ensure that goods can continue to be delivered.
Work is underway on an interim loading and servicing plan with a focus on the midtown area. A more comprehensive plan covering the wider city centre will be developed as part of the implementation of the CCMP’s Access for Everyone (A4E) programme.
From 6 October to 3 November 2021, Auckland Transport and Auckland Council are, together, engaging with the public on the WSBI project and Te Hā Noa.
The views of businesses, residents and users of these streets are key to this conversation, to ensure we understand everyone’s needs.
Engagement is focused on how each project will help transform the midtown area and integrate with the space around the Aotea Station entrances. We’re also looking at the road layout and operational issues.
We want to know if there is anything we may have missed in the planning and design around Stage 1 for the WSBI project and Te Hā Noa.
We value in-person engagement, however, due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, we are taking an online-only approach to this public engagement and ask you provide feedback using our online survey.
To find out more and to provide your feedback by 3 November 2021 go to: https://akhaveyoursay.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/
The relationship between both projects and how they are essential to the midtown regeneration can be seen in this video.
For more information on Te Hā Noa go to www.progressakl.co.nz/projects/victoria-street-linear-park.
For more information on other central city projects go to www.progressakl.co.nz.
The way people want to spend time and move around the city is changing.
The revitalisation of downtown Auckland, the Wynyard Quarter, and Karangahape Road are examples of how Auckland Council and Auckland Transport are working together to create a city that responds to the way our communities want to live, work and play, as outlined in the CCMP.
The focus now shifts to midtown, particularly the area around the new Aotea Station, currently under construction.
Midtown is where many civic, cultural, educational and commercial activities converge with the most densely populated, and growing, residential neighbourhoods in Auckland. It is set to become a key transport hub with the opening of the Aotea Station in 2024, the many bus routes planned to use this east-west corridor, and the WSBI project enabling connections between rail and bus.
The City Centre Masterplan
The City Centre Masterplan is the Council’s unifying strategy presenting a 20-year vision that sets the direction for all the city centre and waterfront projects, ensuring our city is being shaped into a better connected, greener and more people-focussed city of which we can be proud.
A key concept within the CCMP is Access for Everyone (A4E), a new way to use our streets, so pedestrians, cyclists, and buses can move freely, while preserving access for vehicle trips needed to support the city centre, such as deliveries, construction, and emergency services. It will open up new public spaces, create pedestrian-friendly links and improve deliveries to businesses and residents.
For more on the CCMP, go to https://www.aucklandccmp.co.nz/.
City Centre Bus Plan
The proposed City Centre Bus Plan sets out the approach Auckland Transport aims to take in planning for buses in Auckland’s city centre to help deliver the outcomes of the CCMP.
You can find more about the City Centre Bus Plan here.