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Proposed changes for Queen Street traffic, deliveries, bikes, buses and taxis: Give feedback to Auckland Transport by 7 May

News story
Thursday 22 Apr 2021

Auckland Transport is proposing network changes for Queen Street - that will impact how traffic, deliveries, bikes, buses and taxis use the street.

We urge you to review these proposed changes and give your feedback - consultation closes on the 7 May.  You can see Auckland Transport's consultation letter to businesses, residents and property owners here and consultation maps here. We have summarised the proposed changes by location and function, and we've highlighted what we believe are some key issues below:

Overview

The proposed plans, intended to make it better for buses and reduce the overall amount of non-essential traffic, mean in some parts:

  • Loading and servicing will become more difficult. Some loading zones will not be accessible outside the Town Hall.
  • It will be more difficult to get to Queen Street in a rideshare/taxi, and there will be no drop offs outside the Town Hall and the Civic. 
  • People on buses won’t get a reliable journey time along the whole street.
  • There won’t be safe cycling on the street, and there are no plans for scooters.

 

Changes by location

Mayoral Drive to Wakefield Street
A 24/7 bus lane is proposed heading north from Mayoral Drive to Wakefield Street. This means:

  • There is no access for loading and business servicing and maintenance on the western side of the street. Some buildings in this part of the street don’t have loading docks, so loading from Queen Street is the only way they can get stock.
  • Customers can’t be dropped off by taxis or rideshare, and the current taxi stand will not be accessible. This doesn’t support businesses and their customers or the vibrancy of the area. This is an issue for safe and inclusive access for an important night-time destination.

Wellesley Street/Wakefield Street bus only area
The current proposal for 24/7 bus lanes will mean no other vehicles other than buses can travel through this part of the street. This means:

  • Larger delivery vehicles that currently use this part of the street for deliveries overnight will not be permitted to access this area.

Lorne Street (outside the library)
There is a proposal to close the access out of the Lorne Street shared space on to Wellesley Street.

Fort Street Shared Space
Closure of the Fort Street/Queen Street intersection. 

Shortland Street to Customs Street
A bus lane, heading north, is proposed to be operating between 7am and 10am, and 4pm to 7pm. Access for commercial traffic, including access to the loading zones, will only be available outside of these times. 

There will be no restrictions to access from Customs Street heading south, and this means that the current loading zones and parking will be available 24/7.

What does this mean by function?:

Loading and servicing
Whilst the majority of loading and parking spaces are being retained, there is an overall reduction in space to support loading and servicing on Queen Street. This will particularly impact businesses near the Town Hall with no access to the current loading zones on the western side of Queen Street.  There are no plans to look at where and when this activity should best be done. We think this is a major oversight. 

Between Shortland Street and Customs Street, bus lanes, heading north, are proposed to be in effect from 7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm. This means that the loading zones in the area will not be available during these times.

Taxi access:  Supporting safe and accessible connections for customers
Proposed bus only areas in some parts of the street will mean that taxis and other rideshare will not be able to access some parts of Queen Street to pick up and drop off customers. There is no acknowledgement of how important taxis and rideshare is in getting people to the city. Specifically:

In the area around the Aotea Centre, the proposal for a 24/7 bus lane heading north means that other vehicles will not be able to access Queen Street from Mayoral Drive. The existing dedicated night-time taxi stand won’t be able to be used. To get to this part of Queen Street, taxis will have to come down Wakefield Street from Mayoral Drive, and drop people off across the road.

This will make it difficult and for customers, especially those with access needs, to get to businesses and events in this location. Whilst the Civic carpark is nearby to support those needing to drive and park, and there will be good bus access, with no taxi access to this side of the street it will be more difficult for customer drop offs. This is further compounded by no taxi/rideshare drop offs on Wellesley Street.

Buses
The proposal gives buses priority with dedicated bus lanes in most parts of the street and this should make it better for the many people travelling on buses.
For buses heading north between Victoria Street and Shortland Street, there is no plan to give buses a dedicated lane and no plan to remove the current one lane layout that’s currently there. We believe this will lead to frustrated bus passengers and slower journey times. It will also impact efficient access for activity like deliveries and emergency services.

Bikes and other modes like scooters
There is no plan for bikes or scooters. By retaining the current layout, space is restricted meaning people on bikes will have to bike in the same lanes as buses. We don’t believe that’s safe. There are no plans to manage scooters in the area. They’re an important way for people to get around but they are not well organised.

Giving feedback

Give feedback direct to Auckland Transport here. Submissions close May 7, 2021.

Consultation maps

View below or download here